The sprawling of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the developing world provides several challenges to ensuring health and safety practices among workers in the urban poor.
The study used the cross-sectional design to determine types of self-reported health effects associated with physical hazards among welders in the selected small-scale welding workplace in Embakasi constituency, Nairobi County. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 22 and both descriptive statistics and inferential statistics such as chi-square test was conducted to explain the association between the study variables.
Among the hazards identified in the study, bright light (94.4%), excessive heat (61.7%), projectiles (87.9%), and sharps (78%) were the most common (reported by more than 60% of the respondents). Eye related symptoms (>90%), cuts to the hand/arms and feet (98-100%) and burns to the hands and feet (99%) were the most prevalent self-reported health conditions in the present study. The study indicated that 90.2% of welders knew the activities that pose health hazards and about 75.2% of them knew that PPEs could be used to protect workers from hazards. Welders’ knowledge of physical hazards at their workplace was significantly associated with experience; numbers of hours worked per day, type of training, type of welding and use PPEs.
The study also indicates the types of physical hazards associated with welding activities in Embakasi which include the following; electric shocks, sharp objects, bright light, excess heat, etc. Hours worked, work experience and PPE use are among the factors significantly associated with knowledge of physical hazards at welders’ workshops.
Keywords: Occupational, hazards, SMEs, PPE, injuries, welding, safety