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Prevalence and injury patterns among electronic waste workers in the informal sector in Nigeria

Abstract

Background Despite the large volume of e-waste recycled informally, the prevalence of work-related injuries among e-waste workers is unknown. Therefore, this study assessed the prevalence, patterns and factors associated with occupational injuries among e-waste workers in the informal sector in Nigeria.

Methods This cross-sectional study adopted a multistage sampling method to select 279 respondents from three cities (Ibadan, Lagos and Aba) in Nigeria. A questionnaire was used to obtain information on sociodemographics, work practices and injury occurrences from the respondents in 2015. The data were analysed using descriptive statistics and standard logistic regression.

Results We found high injury prevalence of 38% and 68% in 1–2 weeks and 6 months preceding the study, respectively. The most common injuries were cuts (59%). Injuries were mainly caused by sharp objects (77%). The majority (82%) of the injuries occurred on the hands/fingers. Despite the high occurrence of injury, only 18% of the workers use personal protective equipment (PPE) and 51% of those that use PPE got at least an injury in 1–2 weeks and 88% got at least an injury in 6 months preceding the study. The factors associated with injury in 1–2 weeks were job designation and the geographical location, while the factors associated with injury in 6 months were job designation, geographical location and age.

Conclusions There is a high prevalence of injury and low use of PPE among the e-waste workers in Nigeria. Occupational injury can be reduced through health education and safety promotion programmes for e-waste workers.

  • E-waste workers
  • Occupational injury
  • Health outcome
  • Informal sector
  • Nigeria

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