Factors affecting personal protective equipment use among garbage collectors in Kawempe division in Kampala district.
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Background Garbage collectors are exposed to a variety of physical and health risks and hazards at their workplaces especially if the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) is not embraced, resulting into injuries and illnesses among workers. Despite the known hazards related to garbage collection without use of PPE, no study has been conducted to examine the factors influencing compliance to PPE usage, occupational health problems and measures employed by companies to enforce PPE use among the waste/garbage collectors in Kawempe division. The main objective of this study was to assess the prevalence, and factors influencing PPE use among garbage collectors, occupational health problems, and the measures employed by companies to enhance PPE use, therefore improving the occupational health of the garbage collectors through reducing the risks of occurrence of injuries and diseases. A cross-sectional observational study design was used in the study, surveys and interviews were the data collection methods used and both qualitative and quantitative methods were employed in this study. Quantitative data was mainly collected using interviewer guide questionnaires and qualitative data was collected using observational checklists and key informants guide. Cross tabulations with chi-square test were used to analyze the data. The study population was the garbage collectors in Kawempe division Kampala. The sample size for this study was 208 respondents from the different garbage collection in Kawempe. Majority of the respondents were young under the age-bracket of 18-25 years, followed by 26-35 years (35.1 %) while most respondents were male (88.0%), with 55.3 % of the respondents being married, singles (25.5 %) while 44.7 % had attended primary education and 34.6 % uneducated. Results revealed that usage of personal protective equipment (PPE) among garbage collectors is influenced by a number of factors, some of which are significant while others are influential but not significant. The nature of employment tenure and the Company for which one works were the significant factors determining PPE usage. The working experience (time spent in garbage collection), level of education, age and gender (sex) of an employee all influence one’s usage of the PPE although they were not statistically significant. Most respondents; (72.6 %) had ever suffered illnesses during the course of work although no significant linkage between one’s knowledge regarding injuries and illnesses associated with garbage collection and having suffered an illness/ injury or not during the course of work. Garbage collectors reported a combination of Respiratory illnesses and Diarrhea as the most prevalent occupational health challenge among others. The different measures showed that they are related to a specific garbage collection company. The most applied measures used to enforce PPE use in garbage collectors include a combination of Provision of PPE, having a health and safety policy and employing disciplinary action. In conclusion, socio-demographic factors may not be statistically significant in influencing PPE use among workers but their effect may increase as they could be just masked by the two factors of company and employment tenure.