Self-reported disease symptoms of stone quarry workers exposed to silica dust in Ghana

2020-10-05

Background and aims: Understanding the importance of using personal protective equipment (PPE) and the influence of work-post (working distance to main dust source-crusher) in stone quarries is vital for designing tailored interventions in minimizing workers’ exposure to silica dust. Nonetheless, studies on silica dust and disease symptoms in Ghana are nascent. This study assessed how work-post and use of required PPE jointly influence exposure to silica dust and disease symptoms in Ghana.

Methods: Generalized linear models (complementary log-log regression) were fitted to cross-sectional survey data of 524 stone quarry workers in Ghana to assess the joint effect of work-post and PPE usage on self-reported disease symptoms while controlling for relevant compositional and contextual factors.

Results: Stone quarry workers who work between 1-100 m and beyond 100 m from the crusher with the required PPE were 90% and 87% respectively less likely to report eye irritation compared with their counterparts who work between 1 and 100 m from the crusher without the required PPE. Individuals who work between 1-100 m and beyond 100 m from the crusher with the required PPE were 94% and 95% respectively less likely to report breathing difficulty compared with the reference group. Workers who work between 1-100 m and beyond 100 m from the crusher with the required PPE were 97% and 99% respectively less likely to report coughing compared with the reference group. Workers who work between 1-100 m and beyond 100 m from the crusher with the required PPE were 93% and 97% respectively less likely to report common cold compared with their counterparts who work between 1 and 100 m from the crusher without the required PPE. Conclusion: There are adverse health implications for people who work in silica dust polluted environments, suggesting the need for a national safety and health policy to target them.

Authors: Dzifa Francis Ahadzi, Abdul-Rahaman Afitiri, Bernard Ekumah, Verona Kanatey, Abdullah Afedzi
; Full Source: Health science reports 2020 Oct 5;3(4):e189. doi: 10.1002/hsr2.189.