Author(s): Mkulisi, A., Rathebe, P.C., Kachingwe, E., Bidassey-Manilal, S.

Source: Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene, 21(3), 202–211.

Abstract: Cement workers are exposed to various kinds of occupational hazards, dust being the most hazardous. Despite certain exposure limits on the emission of air pollutants in place, several
people die each year due to complications from respiratory disease. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of chronic respiratory symptoms among workers exposed to cement dust. A quantitative, descriptive cross-sectional design was employed among 81 workers from two cement production companies in Gauteng, South Africa in 2018. A self-administered questionnaire, anthropometric measurements, and a spirometry test were used as data collection tools. Data were analyzed using Wilcoxon rank sum, binary logistic regression, Pearson’s chi-squared, and Fischer’s exact tests. Respiratory symptoms such as wheezing, recurring blocked nose, sneezing/stuffy nose, fatigue/tiredness, rapid breathing, soreness/watery eyes, and breathlessness were significantly prevalent among participants from both facilities. Engineering and housekeeping control measures such as the use of High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) vacuums to clean up dust and proper use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) where workers are exposed to dust particles should be implemented.

Keywords: cancer; cement factories; exposure survey; lung disease; lung volume; self-reported symptoms; silicosis