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Title: Sickness Absenteeism, Morbidity and Workplace injuries among Iron and Steel workers- A cross sectional study from Karnataka, Southern India
Authors: Manjunatha, R
Kiran, D
Thankappan, KR.
Keywords: Public Health
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Australasian Medical Journal
Citation: Australas Med J. 4;3;144-7
Abstract: BACKGROUND :The study of illnesses causing absence of workers from work in industries is a practical method to study the health status of industrial workers and to identify occupational health hazards. The iron and steel industries are particularly hazardous places of work. Published data from India on health status of iron and steel workers is limited, therefore this study was undertaken to investigate the sickness absenteeism, morbidity and workplace injuries among this population. METHOD: Workers were selected using stratified random sampling. A structured pre-tested interview schedule was used to collect the data. A p value of < 0.05 was considered for statistical significance.RESULTS:From a total of 2525 workers, 353 (mean age 55.1 yrs, male 69.4%) participated in the study. The overall proportion of sickness absenteeism was 66.9% (95% CI: 0.62 - 0.71). Overall 16.4 days were lost per worker per year (male = 16.5 & female = 16.2) due to sickness absence. A blue collar worker lost 21.5 days compared to 11.9 days by a white collar worker (p > 0.01). Among workers, health ailments related to the musculoskeletal system (31.4%), gastrointestinal system (25.8%), hypertension (24.4%), respiratory system (18.1%) and other minor ailments (19.3%) were found to be high. CONCLUSION: Sickness absenteeism is significantly higher among iron and steel workers when compared to other occupations in India. Blue collar workers and shift workers loose higher number of days due to sickness absence, and they face problems related to musculoskeletal system, gastrointestinal system and hypertension in higher proportions compared to their counterparts. Women experienced hypertension as the common health problem and higher proportions of injuries outside the work environment.
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