The prevalence of work-related injuries among electronic waste (e-waste) workers in developing countries is unknown. Insight into the health risk awareness levels of e-waste workers is important as it may offer opportunities for better e-waste recycling management strategies and occupational safety to reduce the injuries and other health effects of informal e-waste recycling. Therefore, this study assessed the injury prevalence, knowledge, attitude, and practices associated with occupational health risk awareness of e-waste workers compared with a control group (butchers) in the informal sector in Nigeria.
This cross-sectional study adopted a multistage sampling method to select 279 respondents (repairers and dismantlers) and 221 butchers from the informal sector in three cities (Ibadan, Lagos and Aba) in Nigeria. A questionnaire was used to obtain information on socio-demographic backgrounds, occupational history, injury occurrences knowledge, attitude, and work practices from the respondents.
Despite the high injury prevalence of 38% and 68% in 1–2 weeks and 6 months preceding the study respectively among e-waste workers, only 18% of them use Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The three job designations had significantly different knowledge, attitude, and practice mean scores (p=0.000), with butchers consistently having the highest mean scores. Only 43% of e-waste workers (34% of repairers and 53% of dismantlers) could mention one or more PPE needed for their job compared with 70% of the butchers. The health risk awareness level of the e-waste workers was significantly lower compared with their counterparts in the same informal sector. A positive correlation existed between the workers’ knowledge and their attitude and practice.
There is high prevalence of occupational injuries and low health risk awareness level among the e-waste workers compared to their counterparts in the same informal setting. Therefore, devising strategies to increase e-waste workers’ awareness on their occupational health and safety may decrease risky practices.