Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine   Official publication of Indian Association of  0ccupational  Health  
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   2006| May-August  | Volume 10 | Issue 2  
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Ergonomic interventions to improve work environment in garment manufacturing units
Parimalam Parimalam, N Kamalamma, AK Ganguli
May-August 2006, 10(2):74-77
The work environment in the garment manufacturing units is unhealthy and unsafe for the workers, resulting in several health problems. Analysis of garment manufacturing units using a combination of techniques revealed that the congested work area, improper ventilation, dust, unergonomic workstations, excessive noise and non-use of personal protective equipment were the major constraints faced by the workers in these units. Based on the study, interventions to improve the work environment, safety aspects and work methods have been suggested which could be adopted on a wider scale.
  19,413 651 9
Self-reported hearing quality of traffic policemen: A questionnaire-based study
Somnath R Tripathi, Rajnarayan R Tiwari
May-August 2006, 10(2):82-84
Objective: To assess the knowledge, attitude and practices of traffic policemen towards the health effects caused by noise pollution. Materials and Methods: The present questionnaire-based study was carried out among 86 traffic policemen randomly selected for an awareness workshop for prevention of noise pollution. The questionnaire included questions regarding the self-assessment of the policemen about their hearing ability, past and present exposure to loud sound and the use of personal protective devices such as earplugs and earmuffs. The questionnaire was filled up by the subjects. The data analysis was carried out using Epi Info 3.3.2 and included calculation of percentages and proportions and application of the test of significance. Results: The mean age was 39.2 7.8 years and the mean years of exposure was 2.1 1.8 years. Only 2.3% of the subjects felt that their hearing ability was below average. 11.6% complained of regular tinnitus, while 62.8% had work-related tinnitus and experienced it during working hours only. Only 4.7% used earplugs and that too, very seldom. Reasons for non-usage of earplugs/earmuffs included non-availability (65.1%), discomfort (11.6%), bad fit (2.3%), personal dislike (16.3%) and headache caused by its use (4.7%). 67.4% subjects did not use any method to reduce exposure to noise, while remaining used fingers, hands and cotton to avoid noise exposure. Conclusion: The self-assessment of hearing by traffic policemen suggests that most of the traffic policemen have normal hearing. However, a systematic study with audiometry of these subjects is recommended.
  14,016 369 1
Risk from vibration in Indian mines
Bibhuti B Mandal, Anup K Srivastava
May-August 2006, 10(2):53-57
Equipment-induced vibration is widely recognized as a health hazard. It is a physical stressor to which many people are exposed at workplace. Mining industry is no exception. In spite of extensive research undertaken in the developed countries, information on the magnitude of the problem in India is not available. An estimated 1 million workers were engaged in the Indian mining industry in the year 2003. The actual figures could be much higher. Analysis of employees' database of several mines reveals that 18% employees in the Indian mining industry are occupationally exposed to vibration. Large-scale mechanization considerably adds to the severity and complexity of the problem because of 1) increase in the percentage of exposed population and 2) longer duration of exposure. The clinical picture and health outcomes of exposure to hand-arm vibration and whole-body vibration are scantily documented in the Indian context. In view of the health risk and action taken in other countries, we submit that there is an urgent need to develop a practical management strategy for evaluation, monitoring and control of equipment-induced vibration in the mining industry.
  13,656 370 8
Work-related health problems in salt workers of Rajasthan, India
Raman Sachdev, Murli L Mathur, KR Haldiya, HN Saiyed
May-August 2006, 10(2):62-64
Background: About 20,000 men and women are engaged in the production of salt in Rajasthan alone, which is an important unorganized sector. The salt workers are exposed to adversities of environmental conditions as well as salt in the environment. There is a lack of information about their occupational health problems. Aims: The study aimed to identify work-related health problems experienced by the salt workers. Settings and Design: Data were collected in the health camps held near salt sites. Materials and Methods: Workers of salt manufacturing units were invited for their free health examination. Statistical Analysis: Analysis of the data was carried out using Epi-Info 2002 software. Results: Prevalence of ophthalmic symptoms was 60.7%, that of dermatological symptoms was 43.8% and symptoms like headache, giddiness, breathlessness, muscular and joint pains were experienced by 52.1% salt workers. The ophthalmic problems were most common, probably due to irritation by direct sunlight and its glare caused by salt crystals and brine as well as irritation caused by fine salt particles suspended in the air of the working environment. Traumatic ulcers, dermatitis, muscular and joint pains, headache and giddiness were other more common symptoms observed among the workers. Prevalence of hypertension was 12.0%. Conclusions: Looking at the large number of salt workers exposed to salt and facing occupational health problems, there is a need for developing a mechanism for prevention of these problems in them.
  12,149 314 1
A study to assess the respiratory impairments among the male beedi workers in unorganized sectors
BP Chattopadhyay, S Kundu, A Mahata, SK Jane Alam
May-August 2006, 10(2):69-73
Aims: The dust of tobacco enters the respiratory system of beedi workers through inhalation during beedi -making and causes respiratory impairments. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the pulmonary functional status of male beedi workers and to detect the pulmonary function impairments among these workers. Materials and Methods: A standard questionnaire was followed to note the symptoms like cough, breathlessness, morning cough and chest tightness. The tendu leaves contain fungal spores in different phases of its processing, particularly when they were kept in bundles in moist condition before wrapping the beedi. In the present study, pulmonary function status assessment was done by spirometric method using Spirovit-SP-10 and Wright's peak flow meter. Out of the total subjects studied (n=107), 56 were control subjects and 51 were workers exposed to beedi. Statistical Analysis: Paired t-test was done to determine the significant difference between beedi workers and control subjects. Result: A few workers reported symptoms of cough, breathlessness, morning cough and chest tightness. The respiratory symptoms were found higher in exposed beedi workers compared to control subjects. A trend of decrement of lung volumes with the increment of age and duration of work exposure was observed. The pulmonary function abnormalities found among the male beedi workers were obstructive, restrictive and 'combined restrictive and obstructive' type. Conclusion: The respirtory impairments among the beedi workers might be due to their exposure to the work environment.
  11,682 418 2
The levels of antioxidants and some trace metals in Nigerians that are occupationally exposed to chemicals
OG Arinola, MO Akiibinu
May-August 2006, 10(2):65-68
The levels of total antioxidants, vitamin E and certain trace metals (Mg, Fe, Zn, Mn, Cu, Cr, Cd, Pb and Se) were determined in Nigerians who were occupationally exposed to chemicals for a period ranging from 16 to 20 years using colorimetric method and atomic absorption spectrophotometer respectively. In the automobile mechanics, the levels of chromium, cadmium and lead were significantly higher when compared with controls. In the motor painters, chromium and cadmium were significantly higher when compared with controls. Levels of manganese, copper, cadmium, lead and total antioxidants were significantly higher in panel beaters compared with controls. In the battery chargers, only total antioxidants were significantly higher compared with controls. The study shows that metal toxicity is imminent in panel beaters, automobile mechanics and motor painters and that the metals involved vary with occupations. This raises the need for public awareness about the hazards of different occupations in order to enable these professionals take necessary precautionary measures.
  11,146 357 1
Assessment of functional integrity of liver among workers exposed to soluble nickel compounds during nickel plating
Ravi Babu Kalahasthi, Rajmohan H R, Rajan B K
May-August 2006, 10(2):78-81
The present study investigates the functional integrity of liver among workers exposed to nickel during nickel-plating process. The functional integrity of liver was assessed in 69 workers who are exposed to nickel during nickel plating and considered as nickel-exposed workers; and 50 administrative workers residing in same city, but away from the place of work of study group, were considered as control group. The level of urine nickel was measured by using a flameless atomic absorption spectrophotometer. Using kits supplied by Bayer Diagnostics, we determined serum markers of liver function tests. Results: The levels of urine nickel were significantly increased in high-and moderate-exposure groups as compared to control group. The levels of serum transaminases -viz, alanine transaminase and aspartate transaminase-were significantly increased in nickel-exposed workers, who had high urine nickel levels as compared to control group. The level of serum albumin was negatively correlated with urine nickel levels. The levels of serum transaminases and serum g- glutamyl- transpeptidase were positively and significantly correlated with urine nickel levels. Conclusion: Results indicate that workers who had high urine nickel levels had a consistent effect on hepatic inflammatory function.
  9,815 241 2
Immunoglobulin classes and liver function tests in Nigerian petrol attendants
OM Akinosun, OG Arinola, LS Salimonu
May-August 2006, 10(2):58-61
Prolonged exposure to petrol has been shown to be a significant health hazard, especially for skeletal, circulatory, immune and reproductive systems. The present study investigates liver functions (alanine amino transferase and aspartate amino transferase, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), total bilirubin, total protein and albumin) and immune functions (IgG, IgA and IgM) in 29 male petrol attendants and compares them with corresponding values in 22 sex- and age-matched controls using spectrophotometry and single radial immuno-diffusion method respectively for determining the functions. All the liver function tests were similar in both petrol attendants and the controls except for significantly lower levels of ALP ( P =0.02). Also, the levels of IgG and IgA were similar in petrol attendants when compared with corresponding levels in controls, while the levels of IgM were significantly raised in petrol attendants when compared with corresponding levels in controls ( P =0.02). This study shows that parameters of liver functions are within normal range in Nigerian petrol attendants.
  9,722 256 4
Occupational diseases and disorders: How relevant are they in clinical practice?
GK Kulkarni
May-August 2006, 10(2):51-52
  8,195 352 1
Community-based occupational/environmental health studies: The challenges and the dilemmas
Rajan R Patil
May-August 2006, 10(2):85-86
Occupational/environmental health studies present phenomenal operational challenges to execute as per protocols due to their peculiarities and idiosyncrasies. Unlike in infectious diseases, where there is genuine desire for disease eradication by the affected communities, in environmental/occupational health studies, the dynamics are totally different, with vested interest groups working hard to maintain status quo. There are dimensions of economic dependence, politics, fear, suspicion, pressure tactics, intense lobbying, etc, that make community-based studies related to occupational/environmental health aspects very difficult. It's not that the communities affected due to occupation/environment are not concerned about their health, but their participation is very tentative in nature; in the face of slightest risk, they would rather want to play it safe and withdraw, for their economics is at stake-not to forget vested interest groups who could go to any extent to sabotage any good work in favor of affected communities.
  5,583 260 1
Dr. Mahesh Chandra Dutta
J Vijay Rao
May-August 2006, 10(2):87-87
  4,250 137 -
Prof. Marco Maroni: In memoriam
SR Pingle
May-August 2006, 10(2):87-88
  3,401 191 -
Dr. Naren A. Shah
PC Nayak
May-August 2006, 10(2):88-88
  2,976 149 -