B.Sc. O.D MPH, Nigeria
Posters & Accepted Abstracts: Clin Exp Ophthalmol
The eye is the window of the body. More than 80 percent of human knowledge is gained through visual senses.
There is hardly any human activity that is not influenced by vision. Welders are a set of workers who engage in
the art of joining or fabricating metals, and who need to protect their eyes from hazards of their occupation. Welding
may be done by flame or electricity. Welders are exposed to some specific occupational visual hazards, which include
radiation, heat, carbide and flying metal plates. All these may lead to ocular trauma which is the most common
cause of unilateral loss of vision, although less significance as a cause of bilateral blindness. Among the eye protective
devices that have been effectively used to protect the eyes from radiation, mechanical and chemical injury, goggles
appear to be the simplest. The purpose of this study was to identify the level of utilization of goggles among welders
in their work place.
A cross-sectional study was designed that involved the population of welders at Egbeda local Government Area (L.G.A), Ibadan. The estimated population of welders at Egbeda L.G.A was 700. Between 9-17 welders were found in each of the 50 workshops in the L.G.A. after stratifying the workshop into large (15-17) medium (12-14) and small (9-11) workers. 402 welders were proportionately and randomly selected for interview. The welders represent three categories: bosses, senior apprentices and junior apprentices. Data were collected using both questionnaire and observational check list. The questionnaire elicited information on knowledge, attitude and practice of welders about the use of goggles. The check list was used to verify the availability and the use of goggles.
Less than half of 195 (48.5%) respondents claimed they had goggles and 189 (47.0%) reported that they used goggles. Through observation, however it was found that 56 (37.0%) respondents had goggles in their workshops while 40 (27.0%) utilized them. The most common reasons for not using goggles were due to feelings that it was not necessary 120 (39.3%) and non-availability 93 (30.56%). However usage of goggles was neither associated with knowledge about visual hazard at work place (P>0.05) nor fear of visual hazard (P>0.05). There was significant relationship between the levels of education is more knowledgeable about the visual health hazard at work place than those with lower level of education. There was significant relationship between usage of goggles and level of education of welders (P<0.05), perceived cost of goggles (P<0.05) and length of service (P<0.05); most 74 (88.1%) welders with senior secondary education and above utilize goggles more than those 58 (27.2%) with primary education. Most welders that perceived the cost of goggles to be high did not use it while welders with long years of service utilized goggles more frequently than those with lower years of service.
Based on the findings it appears that the main factor that influenced goggles usage was perceived cost, length of service and level of education. Therefore, welders should be educated about the benefits of eye protection in the work place. The effect of ocular trauma is cumulative. Government agency responsible for enforcement should ensure compliance of the Factory law of 1987 relating to the protection of factory workers. Welders with non-formal education should be a special target for educational intervention.