World Health Organization estimates that 20%–50% workers are exposed to numerous hazards at work and most of these workers are from developing or newly industrialized countries. In Sri Lanka, 4000 occupation related injuries are reported annually. However, the epidemiology of such injuries has not been explored adequately. We conducted this study to investigate the epidemiology of occupational injuries in North Central Province of Sri Lanka.
We collected data from patients admitted with occupational injuries to the University Surgical Unit of the Teaching Hospital Anuradhapura (THA) which is the tertiary care hospital of the North Central Province, from August 2014 to July 2016. In total, 443 patients were included in the analysis. Injury severity was assessed using the injury severity score.
A vast majority of the victims were males (98%). Of all, 68.7% were skilled workers, 26.3% were unskilled workers, and 5% were professionals. Mean age of the injured population was 42.9 (SD 11.1) and a majority of the victims were between 21–50 years old. Of all the injuries, 55.3% were moderate in severity, 34.8% were minor and 9.9% were severe injuries. Median duration of hospitalization was 3 days (IQR 2–4 days) and the median workdays lost was 7 days (IQR 4–14 days). Hand (44.4%), foot (13.1%) and head (11.6%) were the common sites of injuries. Main types of injuries were cuts (38.6%), lacerations (23.2), crush injuries (19.4%), contusions (12.5%), and fractures (7.8%).
In North Central Province of Sri Lanka, majority of occupational injuries were sustained by skilled workers. This shows lack of skill is not a main reason for injury. Not following safety measures and non-wearing of protective garments, safety equipment could be important reasons for injuries because hands, feet, and head were the commonest sites of injuries. Strict implementation of occupational injury prevention policies may prevent or minimize them.