Occupational exposure associated with unstructured, informal e-waste recycling has received very limited attention. This study aimed to quantify the occupational physical exposures among informal e-waste workers at the largest e-waste site in Africa. A cross-sectional field survey of 163 male e-waste workers was conducted using a self-report occupational physical activity questionnaire, along with direct work observations, and pedometer estimates of walking activity for a subset of workers (n = 42). Results indicated significant differences in self-reported 7-day work exposures among the three main e-waste job categories, namely, collectors (n = 70), dismantlers (n = 73) and burners (n = 20). Prolonged walking, sitting and standing on five or more days in the workweek was frequently reported by collectors (87%), dismantlers (82%) and burners (60%), respectively. Nearly 90% of collectors and burners and 60% of dismantlers reported lifting and carrying on five or more days in the workweek. The exposure combinations identified suggest a risk for musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Findings call attention to the need for research examining potential associations between physical exposures and MSDs affecting e-waste workers in Agbogbloshie. The high exposure variability both between and within workers has implications for future exposure assessments conducted in unregulated, informal work settings.
Authors: Augustine A Acquah, Clive D’Souza, Bernard J Martin, John Arko-Mensah, Paul K Botwe, Prudence Tettey, Duah Dwomoh, Afua Amoabeng Nti, Lawrencia Kwarteng, Sylvia Takyi, Isabella A Quakyi, Thomas G Robins, Julius N Fobil
; Full Source: International journal of industrial ergonomics 2021 Mar;82:103096. doi: 10.1016/j.ergon.2021.103096.