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Cover page of the Journal of Health Sciences
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 254-259

Occupational safety and health hazards among cashew processing workers of Cuddalore district: A cross-sectional study

1 Department of Public Health, SRM Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Statistician, Evidencian Research Associates Private Limited - ERA, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Miss. Janana Priya
161-H, Balaraman Nagar, Main Road, Nellikuppam, Cuddalore - 607 105, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/kleuhsj.kleuhsj_6_21

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BACKGROUND: Occupational health and safety is a major concern of all time despite consequent advancement in all forms of industries. As stated in multiple research papers from various parts of the nation, more than 90% of workers involved in cashew processing were females who are socially and economically backward.This paper aims to find the existing occupational health hazards of workers in the cashew processing unit and the level of safety measures adopted. In addition, the health outcome in relation to certain improvisations made in the process was also analyzed. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Full-time workers from the cashew processing unit were selected as the study population through convenience sampling technique. This study was conducted on 200 workers from May 2019 to October 2019. For data collection, a semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect information on demography, working environment, and personal protective equipment (PPE) utilization; a Modified Nordic questionnaire for muskuloskeletal disorder and rapid upper limb assessment scale for ergonomic assessment. Descriptive analysis followed by Chi-square test was done to find the association between the nature of the job and hazards. RESULTS: Muscular skeletal pain in the various regions holds a major part of all health hazards faced by the workers (low back pain [n = 72, 36%] and wrist/hand pain [n = 65, 32.5%]). The proportion of low back pain is highly noticed among shelling workers (79.2%) and wrist/hand pain among peeling (41.5%), roasting (21.5%), and grading (20%), respectively (P ≤ 0.001). The change from squatting shelling to machine shelling has reduced low back pain to some extent, but the overall hazard risk remains unchanged. The majority of workers were not provided with proper PPE, hand washing facilities, and medical facilities within the unit. CONCLUSION: Prolonged work time due to piece-rate system and poor PPE utilization exacerbate hazards. In order to provide a healthy and safe workplace, it is important to identify, monitor, and reduce the risk associated with workplace hazards.

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