Introduction—Injuries of the hand have an enormous impact on hand function and on quality of life. Occupational injuries are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in India and their incidence has been steadily increasing. Sugarcane crushers produce juice using dangerous procedures.
Objective—The objective of this study was to determine the knowledge, attitudes, and practices among sugarcane crushers in India and thus assist in the formulation of effective preventive strategies.
Setting—A block (area) in the Vellore District, South India (population 100 000).
Subjects and methods—All sugarcane crushers living in this area (n = 32) were included. A single observer, using a questionnaire, conducted personal on-site interviews.
Results—Carelessness was involved in 63% of injuries. Sixteen per cent felt that machines with improved safety features are required; 40% supported the use of special gloves, although 19% considered them a hindrance. Eighty eight per cent did not consider the long duration of work as a risk factor and 38% were fatalistic (God's will); 50% thought the injuries were due to “bad luck”.
Conclusion—Sugarcane crushers do not perceive the need for safer equipment. To overcome fatalistic views, and persuade this group to take other safety measures, safety education will need to take into consideration their socioeconomic and educational status.
- occupational injury
- hand injury
- sugarcane crushers
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