Compliance level with safety standards (section 35 to 37) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and associated factors among welders in Kampala district
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Background: Compliance with Occupational Safety Standards is one way of reducing global injuries and health costs while improving industrial productivity and Uganda’s GDP. However, the target of 100% protection has not yet been realized which can be explained by the factors for compliance with (sections 35, 36 &37) of the OSH Act 2006. This study was conducted to determine compliance levels with (section 35-37) of the OSH Act, 2006 by Kampala welders, as well as their safety knowledge, attitudes and the factors associated with compliance. Methods: A cross-sectional study design employing both quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection was and a one-stage cluster sampling from the five Kampala divisions (Makindye, Rubaga, Central, Kawempe and Nakawa) was used. By snowballing, welding workshops were selected in every division and Simple Random Sampling done at every workshop until 425 welders were interviewed. Five Key Informants at the supervisory level were purposively sampled until saturation, one per division and three officials from Safety and Health Department, Ministry of Gender Labor and Social Development (MGLSD), for Key Informant Interviews (KIIs). Quantitative data was entered and cleaned in STATA-14, bi-variable analysis done using, Crude Prevalence Ratios (CPR) while Adjusted Prevalence Ratios (APR) used as measures of association for multivariable analysis, level of significance determined at 95% CI and 5% level of significance. Qualitative data was transcribed and analyzed manually by themes. Results: A total of 425 welders were interviewed from the five divisions of Kampala. Almost all 424/425 (99.76%) were males, mean age 28.6(SD±8.57years). Slightly more than half, 234/425(55.06%) and 223/425(52.47%) respectively belonged to 21-30years age group and were single. Welders safety knowledge ranked low with almost three quarters, 276/425 (64.94%) while attitudes towards compliance with the safety measures was equally distributed, with slightly more than half, 216/425 (50.82%) having a positive attitude towards compliance with safety standards. The level of compliance was below the 100% required by MGLSD; nearly three quarters, 303/425 (71.29%) complied with PPE use (section 35), 154/425 (36.24%) complied with incident documentation and reporting (section 36) and only 86/425 (20.24%) complied with running away from dangerous working environments (section 37). Factors for compliance reported with their respective APR (95% CI): Section 35 included; welders’ residence (Makindye), 1.33(1.12-1.59), marital status: 1.37(1.17-1.61), ever experienced electric shocks in the last 6months: 1.18(1.05-1.32), involvement in hazard analysis: 1.41(1.25-1.58), knowledge about safety: 1.26(1.11-1.43), having supervisors in place: 0.86(0.76-0.98); Section 36; welders’ residence (Makindye), 0.25(0.23-0.75), > 6years welding experience: 0.44(0.21-0.96), and having OSH Policies in place: 3.61(2.07-6.28), lastly, section 37 factors included; welders’ residence (Rubaga, Makindye and Central): 4.20(2.21-7.99); 4.10(2.12-7.89) & 3.52(1.66-7.47) respectively, experienced fall from heights & machine injuries in the last 6months 2.04(1.33-3.11) & 1.97(1.37-2.82) respectively and having supervisors in place: 1.60(1.09-2.34). Conclusion: Majority of welders in the order comply with PPE use followed by incident documentation and the rights of running away from dangerous working environments. Welders have low knowledge about safety, although with positive attitudes towards compliance to safety measures, and indeed above average compliance with PPE use. However, due to lack of alternative employment options, majority decide to work in dangerous environments, while others get used to it. Incident documentation was also essentially lacking. The MGLSD and other private OSH service providers should conduct training among welders to raise their safety knowledge, initiate injury documentation and increase awareness about welders’ rights to move away from dangerous working environments.