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Background: Occupational Hazards has been identified as one of the primary cause of disability and mortality among the working population globally. Estimates also show that 8% of unintentional injuries and more than 10 million disability-adjusted life years or healthy years of life lost either to disability or premature death is primarily caused by occupational injuries.
Objective: The study was aimed at determining the knowledge level, risk perception of occupational hazards and safety practices amongst carpenters in Southern Nigeria.
Methods: The study adopted a descriptive cross-sectional study design. Snowball sampling technique was used to select 200 carpenters to participate in the study. A pre-tested semi-structured questionnaire was used to generate data from the selected respondents at their workplace (workshops). The questionnaire was subjected to face validation and test of reliability using the test-retest method before it was used. Data generated was synthesized and analyzed using Statistical Packages for Social Sciences Software (SPSS version, 2010). Results were calculated in percentage and presented in tables and charts.
Results: The results showed that 195 (97.5%) were males, 73 (36.5%) were aged between 26-35 years, 88 (44.0%) had secondary education, 83 (41.5%) were single and 133 (66.5%) learnt their trade through apprenticeship. Most respondents 142 (71.0%) recorded good knowledge of occupational hazards and exhibited low risk perception towards occupational hazards. Of the 63 (44.4%) respondents who have heard of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and 61 (43.0%) confirmed to have used PPE at workplace. Types of PPE used were mostly disposable nose mask 61 (43.0%), face mask/eye Google 58 (40.8%) and ear plug 47 (33.1%). Barriers to PPE use highlighted by the respondents were mostly lack of knowledge on how to use PPE 43 (53.1%), inconveniences 38 (46.9%), non-availability of PPE 42 (51.9%) and lack of money to buy PPE 33 (40.7%).
Conclusion: Institutionalizing appropriate regulatory authorities in Nigeria is imperative to ensure adequate availability and use of PPE for workers at workplace to minimize their exposure to workplace hazards and punishment should be accorded to defaulters. Public health experts and health educators should take up the responsibility to educate carpenters about the adverse health effects of occupational hazards, control measures and the operationalization of PPE available for them.
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