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39 Prevalence of selected health issues among workers in small scale industries in a district in Sri Lanka
  1. S A I K Suraweera1,
  2. Senanayake2,
  3. Wijesinghe2
  1. 1Environmental and Occupational Health Unit, Colombo, Sri Lanka
  2. 2Ministry of Health, Colombo, Sri Lanka


Prevalence of selected health issues among workers in small scale industries in a district in Sri Lanka

Objectives To assess the prevalence of selected health issues among workers, in small scale industries in a district in Sri Lanka

Method A cross sectional study was conducted among workers in four selected small scale industry categories namely food and beverages, apparel, non metallic mineral products and fabricated metal products in a district of Sri Lanka. A small scale industry was defined as a work setting with less than 20 workers. The census of Industries Sri Lanka 2003/2004 was used as the sampling frame. Cluster sampling using probability proportionate to size of the workers was done. Cluster size was eight and eighty clusters were selected. Data was collected using a pre-tested interviewer administered questionnaire.

Results Analysis was based on 727 workers. A majority (63.8%, n = 464) were in the age group 20–39 years and 499 (68.6%) were males. Of the males 37.8% (n = 189) were regular smokers, while 24.6% (n = 123) consumed alcohol daily.

The prevalence of shoulder pain, wrist/hand pain, knee pain, neck pain and back pain in the past one month was 4.4% (n = 32), 4.5% (n = 33), 5.4% (n = 39), 4.7% (n = 34) and 6.1% (n = 44) respectively. Workers working in fabricated metal product industries had the highest proportion of having shoulder pain (7.4%, n = 07). In the same category wrist/ hand pain was 10.5% (n = 10) and knee pain was 9.5% (n = 09). Thirty one (4.3%, n = 31) were having asthma prior to the study.

The prevalence of wrist pain (p = 0.025) and knee pain (p = 0.006) were significantly associated with the industry category. Sex of the worker was not significantly associated any musculoskeletal disorders assessed.

Conclusion Musculoskeletal diseases are prevalent among the study population. This needs to be investigated in-depth to identify the correlates to plan interventions.

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