Occupational hazards and their effect on the health and socio-economic status of local palm oil processors in Delta State, Nigeria

Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine, Ekiti State University, Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria
Ann Agric Environ Med 2015;22(3):483–487
Introduction and objective. Nigerian rural farmers still use a crude method for farming. The objective of this study is to identify the hazards of traditional palm oil processing in the Ethiope West Community of Delta State, Nigeria, and the associated socio-economic and health consequences on the peasant farmers. Materials and Methods. A cross-sectional analytical study was carried out among the rural palm oil processors. An interviewer administered questionnaire was issued to respondents who were selected using a multi-stage sampling method. Results. 295 respondents participated in the survey; male/female ratio – 4:1. 52.9% had only primary or no formal education; and respondents had spent a median of 4.0 years (IQR: 2.0 to 7.0) in palm oil processing. Spikelet and burn injuries were the hazards faced by most respondents. Hand gloves (48.2%), boots (23.7%), protective wears (22.7%) and helmets (5.4%) were the personal protective equipment reported to be available. As many as 78.0% of respondents had experienced injury while at work, and 22.7% had fallen ill in the past twelve months prior to the study. Those who believed that the occupation was hazardous were about twice as likely to have experienced a work-related injury – p>0.05. Conclusion. Rural palm oil processors in the study area are socio-economically poor. They suffer from occupational injuries and illnesses that are directly related to their occupational exposure.