Background Floriculture is labour intensive industry in which a number of citizens in Ethiopia rely and currently on vast expansion. The health challenges of workers in this industry are less studied, although they are exposed to pesticides and different types of dust at work. The aim of this study was to assess magnitude of respiratory and skin symptoms encountered by the workers of floriculture industry.
Methods A cross general population were conducted in Holeta; Ethiopia. The data was collected using a standardised sectional study on 958 randomly selected respondents working in floriculture and in the questionnaire and an observation checklist of the workplace. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression was used to analyse the data.
Results Four hundred and seventy seven respondents from floriculture and 481 from the general population participated, with response rate 98.4%. The prevalence of reported 12 month respiratory symptoms were 462 (75.5%) among flower industry workers and 232 (48.6%) among general population. Prevalence of reported 12 months skin symptom were 178 (37%) among flower industry workers and 68 (14.1%) among the general population. Awareness of workers on potential health risks of working in floriculture has association with reported respiratory and skin symptom; as those who were not aware about risks were less likely to report symptoms. Use of personal protective equipment and pre training did not show significant associations with symptoms of workers. The majority of respondents didn’t wear full personal protective equipment (PPE); less than 30% of workers reported having boots, facemask and goggles.
Conclusions and recommendations The study found high prevalence of respiratory and skin symptoms among flower workers compared to general population. Few workers used personal protective equipment. Further studies should be conducted to identify the possible causes of symptoms.
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