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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 9-12

A study on morbidity among automobile service and repair workers in an urban area of South India


Department of Community Health, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Reginald G. Alex
Department of Community Health, Christian Medical College, Vellore 632 002, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-5278.134946

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Introduction: Service sector in Indian industrial growth has obtained significant numbers. Automobile service industry is one of the largest in the world with a majority of the workers in unorganized sector of the industry. This study was carried out among auto service industry workers in Vellore urban area to assess possible occupation related morbidity. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional observation study was carried out among 106 automobile repair shop workers. Results: Half (47%) suffered work related stress, 32 (30.2%) reported exposure to dust, 81 (76%) to heat, and 50 (17%) to hazardous chemicals and heavy metals. More than 90% reported over exposure to petroleum products. A third reported cough for more than 2 weeks, more than a quarter reported gastrointestinal symptoms associated with work. Half of them reported musculoskeletal complaints associated with work with a quarter reporting un-intentional work place injuries. A tenth of them were found to have reduced pulmonary function on testing and nearly half had impaired sensory functions in peripheries. Reduced pulmonary function was found to be significantly associated with heavy metal exposure (P = 0.001). Peripheral neuropathy was significantly associated with years of occupation (P = 0.001), exposure to petroleum products (P = 0.03) and exposure to heavy metals (P = 0.018). Discussion: Half of the workers were unaware of health problems associated with their occupational exposures and thereby the use of personal protection is abysmally low. A very high proportion of workers had symptoms of cough, breathlessness, abdominal pain, abdominal discomfort and muscle aches. Almost a quarter of the workers had un-intentional occupational injuries in the last 6 months. Though they work in a high-risk environment with chances of fire hazard, falls and chemical exposures, none of the workshops had fire-extinguishers, first aid kits or any such safety devices.






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