582 Health and safety training on lead exposure for artisanal and small-scale gold miners in zamfara state, nigeria


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Abstract

IntroductionArtisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) has long been practiced in Nigeria. Mining often involves both occupational and community health and safety hazards that not only affect miners, but also their families and communities. In Zamfara, Nigeria where the gold bearing deposits contain unusually problematic concentrations of lead these are overwhelmed by the enormous effects of lead poisoning. In 2010, unregulated small-scale miners in Zamfara state, gave rise to an epidemic of childhood lead poisoning, with at least four hundred children under the age of five dying within a six-month period (a number that rose to over 700 by 2013). It was found out that a lack of training in Health and safety and support to the ASGM sector, and the need for the miners to make a living, even in a precarious environment contributed to this incidence.ObjectivesThe objectives of this study are:To provide capacity building to help this group of workers learn concepts for improving work conditions and understand the risks in mining;To provide awareness on various approaches of workplace health and safety promotion as regards mining.MethodsOne hundred and seventy four(74) participants were randomly selected for this training.ModulesHazard identification and risk assessment.First aidMercury Exposure and related riskslead exposure and related risksSafer mining practicePersonal HygienePersonal protective equipment (PPE) used in miningResultsThe Health and safety knowledge of the ASGM workers were increased. The capacity building process enabled the workers to recognise risks associated with mining and therefore know how to implement safety measures by using PPE and by learning about safety improvement concepts.DiscussionOur findings suggest that positive attitudes toward promoting safe working conditions and practices can be fostered among the ASGM workers.

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