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36 Occupational health services for small-scale industry workers in a district of Sri Lanka
  1. S A I K Suraweera1,
  2. Wijesinghe2,
  3. Senanayake2
  1. 1Environmental and Occupational Health Unit, Colombo, Sri Lanka
  2. 2Ministry of Health, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Abstract

Objectives To describe the provision of occupational health services to workers in small scale industries in a district of Sri Lanka

Methods A cross-sectional study was conducted among workers in selected small scale industries in Gampaha district in Sri Lanka. A small scale industry was defined as a work setting with less than 20 workers. The study population consisted of workers in four selected small scale industry categories namely food and beverages, apparel, non metallic mineral products and fabricated metal products. Full time, permanent, workers between the ages of 18–65 years with at least 6 months were selected. Pregnant and temporary workers were excluded. The Census of Industry 2003/2004 was used as the sampling frame. The required sample size was 640 and sampling was done using cluster sampling using probability proportionate to size of workers with a cluster size of eight and 80 clusters. Data was collected using an interviewer administered questionnaire.

Results Out of the total 743 workers, majority were males (71%). Higher proportion of workers (59%) belonged to 20 - 39 year age group. Twenty four percent and 28% of the study population smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol regularly respectively. Only 6% of workers had a pre employment medical examination and periodic medical examinations. Of the workers only 38% were using personal protective equipment. 47% of workers reported that compensation claims were paid for accidents at the factory. 62% of the workers knew how to use a first aid box.

Conclusion The provision of occupational health services to workers in small scale industries is not satisfactory and needs improvement.

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