Ocular injuries among industrial welders in Port Harcourt, Nigeria
B Fiebai, EA Awoyesuku
Department of Ophthalmology, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Background: The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence and pattern of ocular injuries among industrial welders and rate the use of protective eyewear at work among industrial welders in Port Harcourt. Information from this study will provide a database for effective policy formation on prevention of occupational eye injuries in Port Harcourt Rivers State.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey of ocular injuries and use of protective eyewear among industrial welders in the Port Harcourt local government area of Rivers State, Nigeria, was carried out over a three-month period. Five hundred welders were selected by simple random sampling. Information was obtained using an interviewer-administered questionnaire. All welders were examined in their workshops.
Results: Flying metal chips were the chief source of ocular injury, as reported by 199 (68.15%) of those who gave a history of work-related eye injury, while arc rays accounted for the remaining 93 (31.85%). There was a high level of awareness of the risk of sustaining an eye injury from welding (n = 490, 98%), but only 46 (15.3%) of the welders were using protective eyewear at the time of injury.
Conclusion: To minimize ocular injury and promote eye health amongst industrial welders, safety intervention programs, such as awareness campaigns, setting up of targeted programs by the relevant government agencies, and encouragement of locally produced eye protectors is recommended. The involvement of occupational medical practitioners is also strongly recommended.
Keywords: industrial welders, ocular injury, Port Harcourt, preventable blindness, protective eye devices
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