OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICES AMONG FISHERFOLKS OF LWAMPANGA SUB COUNTY FISH LANDING SITES NAKASONGOLA DISTRICT, UGANDA
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Introduction Occupational safety is defined as the science of anticipation, recognition, evaluation and control of hazards arising in or from the workplace that could impair the health and wellbeing of workers, taking into account the possible impact on the surrounding communities and the general environment. Fishing is one of the occupations with substantial risks which include but not limited to: drowning, assaults, skin infections among others. In Uganda, its responsibility of Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to administer and enforce the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and improvement of working conditions and environment. Given interventions, fishermen continue to be disproportionately affected by occupational related injuries. In Lwampanga, the knowledge and practice regarding occupational safety is not documented. The extent to which interventions to reduce hazards related to fishing is not known. Objectives The objective of the study was to determine occupational safety knowledge and practices among fisher folks of Lwampanga, Nakasongola district in Uganda. Specific objectives were to determine the level of occupational safety knowledge, among fisher folks at selected landing sites in Lwampanga. To determine individual occupational safety practices among fisher folks and also to explore perception of district, and community leaders towards occupational safety among fisher folk in Lwampanga Sub County. Methodology This study was cross sectional, 6 landing sites were randomly selected 1 from at least each parish.12 key informants were selected purposively from the respective departments and relevant community structures. Data collection methods included an interviewer administered questionnaire, and key informant interviews. Quantitative data was collected from 300 respondents, including different categories of populations involved in fishing activities. Qualitative data was collected from 12 key informants, using thematic analysis of transcripts from respondents. Quantitative data was analyzed using STATA. The results will be presented to school of public health Makerere and a copy will be presented to the district fisheries officer, xi from whom other sub county fisheries staff can get information and assess the results. The results will guide in health education and enforcement in regard to occupational measures. Results Slightly more than half of respondents 56.6% were knowledgeable about occupational health and safety. 99.7% acknowledged that their kind of work exposes them to different hazards. More than half 58.9% reported working in groups as a preventive measure to the hazards faced while fishing. 91.3% knew PPE and could mention at least one, only 32.7% were consistently using them. More than half 56.67% of respondents had poor practices in regard to occupational health and safety of which of all the respondents only 16% could report occupational health and safety incidences. Conclusion Despite the considerable knowledge on occupational health and safety among fishermen, majority of the workers displayed poor safety practices thus poor PPE use, incidence reporting etc. Therefore, there is need for continuous trainings and sensitization of fishermen workers on occupational health and safety with emphasis on the advantages of using protective equipment, order to improve their knowledge and consequently their practices.