KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDE AND PRACTICES OF MAIZE MILL WORKERS ON OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY HAZARDS IN JINJA DISTRICT
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Introduction: Working in a maize mill is associated with a number of occupational health and safety hazards; these include; musculoskeletal problems, hearing impairment, respiratory problems, injuries and disabilities, illnesses among others. Amidst all these risks involved, control measures like proper house-keeping, training, medical examinations and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) are not adhered to by the maize mill workers. Study objective: To assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices of maize mill workers in Jinja municipality on occupational health and safety hazards in order to generate information that could be used to put in place measures to increase awareness about hazards in mill factories so as to reduce the risk of resultant illnesses, disorders and disabilities. Methodology: This was a cross sectional study, employing quantitative data collection methods. The study used structured questionnaires among maize mill workers. A sample size of 160 maize mill workers was interviewed; Univariate analysis was done to analyse the quantitative data Results: Majority of the respondents were male (84.4%, 135/160). (43.1%, 69/160) had attained secondary school. All workers were temporarily employed. The prevalence of occupational injuries was low (19.38%, 31/160) however 26 other respondents also reported having suffered ill-health. Majority of the maize mill workers, (78.3%, 126/160) were aware of the risk factors in their work environment as well as health effects from the various exposures; 77.8% knew how to prevent the hazards. Majority (90.0%, 144/160) agreed that being a maize mill worker is a hazardous occupation and (59.4%, 95/160) agreed that workers should not be allowed to work without PPE. (96.7%, 29/30) of the visited maize mills had machine guards and fences on while the machines were running but only (6.7%, 2/30) of the maize mills had workers wearing nose masks and no mill had workers using ear plugs. None of the respondents had received a medical examination since January 2018. Only (1.9%, 3/160) had information on work hazards and risks communicated to them. Conclusion: The findings from the study suggest that knowledge of maize mill workers on occupational health and safety hazards was high. Most of the maize mill workers had good attitude towards occupational health and safety and they were eager to welcome interventions geared towards improving their working conditions. Practices in line with engineering controls were found to be high for example machine guards were in place for most of the maize milling factories; also most of the maize mills switched off their machines which were not in use. However, practices in line with direct protection of workers from the risk factors like PPE use were really low. First aid facilities were generally lacking in these factories and information regarding risk factors at work wasn’t shared.