The effect of saw-milling on small scale wood artisans and other workers based at Anloga in Kumasi

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Occupational hazards refer to factors that have the capabilities of causing disorders of the body or the mind as a result of one’s working environment. These hazards such as excessive noise, dust, stress and neglect of proper ergonomic design in the working environment are common in Ghanaian artisan workshop. In this work, attempt was made to evaluate some of the occupational hazards faced by the Small Scale Wood Artisans and other people who are engaged in the buying and selling in Anloga a suburb in Kumasi Ghana, where there is a cluster of small scale wood industries. Again attempt was made to establish which of the occupations was most prone to hazards, assess which types of hazards and which age groups are most vulnerable to a particular type of hazard. To achieve the mentioned objectives, a questionnaire was administered in a restricted random sampling manner and since the people were barely literate, this was done through face-to-face verbal interaction. Also, the mean sound levels in the various workshops were determined using Crest Sound Level meter (Model 2700) and the mode of sampling was restricted random. A Pure-tune Audiometer was used to assess the hearing ability of a sample of the workers to see the effect that the noise had on their hearing. Results showed that, noise was the worst occupational hazard in the wood industry resulting in significant number of the workers showing Noise Induced Hearing loss (NIHL). With regards to NIHL, males were significantly prone to the hazard than females. It was also noted that the older the worker the higher the risk for this particular hazard. Machine loaders and Carpenters were the most affected. Machine and Mixed (Machine and Carpentry) shops were found to be of significantly high noise levels. Again it was noted that the masters were the most prone to accidents. Poor patronage of protective clothing i.e. 17.6%, resting periods within the job hours as well as use of old and poorly serviced machines contributed so much to the numerous accidents as well as the occurrence of NIHL, nasal irritation, backache, waist pains, catarrh and others. As much as 60.8% of the sample suffered from waist problem and 66% also suffering from backache. Education on the adoption and adherence to modern ergonomic designs in the workshops will help bring down the accident rate. Also advice on the use of protective ear muffs as well as replacement of old and very noisy machines will help bring down the rate of NIHL. A lot more work needs to be done on different Small Scale Wood industries in different part of the country to be able to generalize the findings.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Applied and Theoretical Biology in partial fulfilment for the degree of Master of Science in Environmental Science, 2005