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Prevalence and injury patterns among electronic waste workers in the informal sector in Nigeria
  1. Chimere May Ohajinwa1,
  2. Peter M van Bodegom1,
  3. Martina G Vijver1,
  4. Adesola O Olumide2,
  5. Oladele Osibanjo3,
  6. Willie J G M Peijnenburg1,4
  1. 1 Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML), Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands
  2. 2 Institute of Child Health, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
  3. 3 Department of Chemistry, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria
  4. 4 National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Center for Safety of Substances and Products, Bilthoven, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Chimere May Ohajinwa, Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands; chimeremay{at}


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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  • Contributors This study is part of the PhD research of OCM. OCM conceived the study, carried out the literature review, developed the data collection and analysis plan, collected data, analysed the data, drafted the manuscript and provided a critical revision to the manuscript. WJGMP, MGV and OO are the supervisors and were involved in the study design, the development of the data collection plan, the revision of the various versions of the manuscript and made contributions to the manuscript. PMvB was involved in all stages of the write-up and the revision of the manuscript contributed to the data analysis and advanced statistical procedures. AOO contributed to the conceptualisation, design and revision of the manuscript. All authors approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This research was funded by NUFFIC (Netherlands Universities Foundation for International Cooperation).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Ethics approval University of Ibadan/University College Hospital Ethical Review Board, Nigeria.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The dataset for this study is available from the corresponding author on request.