Occupational exposure and health problems in small-scale industry workers in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania: a situation analysis

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BackgroundWorkers in informal small-scale industries (SSI) in developing countries involved in welding, spray painting, woodwork and metalwork are exposed to various hazards with consequent risk to health.AimTo assess occupational exposure and health problems in SSI in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.MethodsFocused group discussions (FGD) were conducted among SSI workers. Participants were assessed for exposure to occupational and environmental hazards, the use of protective equipment and health complaints by interview. The findings were discussed with participants and potential interventions identified.ResultsThree hundred and ten workers were interviewed (response rate 98%). There was a high level (>90%) of self-reported exposure to either dust, fumes, noise or sunlight in certain occupational groups. There was low reported use of personal protective equipment. There was a high level of self-reported occupational health problems, particularly amongst welders and metalworkers. Workers reported their needs as permanent workplaces, information on work related hazards, water and sanitation, and legislation for SSI.ConclusionsIn SSI in Tanzania, our study suggests that workers have high levels of exposure multiple health hazards and that use of protective equipment is poor. This group workers warrants improved occupational health and safety provision.

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