Anuradha Sharma, V.K. Rattan
Hazards; Pollutants; Psychological; Physical ailments; Pulp and Paper.
|PUBLISHED DATE||March 14, 2016|
|PUBLISHER||The Author(s) 2016. This article is published with open access at www.chitkara.edu.in/ publications|
The use of numerous synthetic chemicals and other aspects of constructed environment in paper industry have become a matter of concern to the environmentalists. Several studies have revealed that chemical industries are associated with health hazards. However, precious little data is available about the effects of such environment on the health of workers in these industries. Therefore, present study was aimed to investigate the existence of various psychological disorders and physical ailments in workers exposed to hazardous environment in factory premises. The data was collected on a specially designed survey performa from different pulp and paper industries. It was found that the workers were provided with protecting devices but most of them do not use them because of unawareness and climatic discomfort. In order to check the effectiveness of protecting/preventives devises, the workers were divided into two categories : (i) directly exposed (not taking preventive measures) and (ii) indirectly exposed (taking preventive measures) against these conditions vis-à-vis their health (healthy and sick), working conditions (good & poor) and job satisfaction (satisfied and unsatisfied). The extent of correlation amongst health, work environment and job satisfaction has been studied by using Youle’s Coefficient of association and to test the significance of association, Chi-square test of independence of attributes was deployed. The comparison of the two categories was made by using test of proportions. The statistical significance of the differences of the two categories of workers vis-a-vis their physical and mental health was studied by using test of proportions (Z-test). It was found that with the exception of the association between job satisfaction and physical health, which is moderately positive, there is high degree of positive association amongst job satisfaction-mental health and work environment; work environment-physical and mental health.
The fast pace of development of industries disregarding the associated work environment has created a situation which require immediate attention of governing authorities, technocrats and planners. However, some studies were conducted to document the ill effects of pollutants on workers in pulp and paper industry [5,7,9,12,14]. For instance, Glindmeyer et al.  have reported the relationship of asthma to irritant gas exposures in pulp and paper mills. Similarly, Li et al.  have investigated the effect of particulate matter in air on C-reactive protein. A similar study on the relationship between exposure to air born particles in pulp and paper mills and markers of inflammation and coagulation in blood was reported by Westberg et al. . Some researchers [5, 10] have highlighted the cancer risk associated with pulp and paper mills. Studies pertaining to occupational exposure to chemicals leads to an increase in mortality of workers have also been reported [2,3,6,8,10]. The unpleasant odour and continued roar of wood cutting machines put an excessive strain on workers. Allibacus et al.  have pointed out that the noice puts an excessive strain on nervous system and may cause deafness, speech interference, annoyance, impairment of efficiency, dizziness, irritability, nausea, fatigue, anxiety, insomnia and infertility. Further, Luthan  has reported that the effect of such type of strain would create physiological problems (heart disease, ulcers, arthritis and even cancer), and psychological disorders (tardiness, absenteeism, change in eating habits, rapid speech and sleep disorders) in workers. This study was therefore, undertaken to evaluate the prevalence of various physical and psychological disorders in workers exposed to heat, cold, noise, moisture, toxic vapours, dust, odour and vibrations in pulp and paper industries, on the one hand, and, to correlate the findings with age, length of service/duration of exposure in work environment on the other.
|ISSN||Print : 2349-7564, Online : 2349-7769|
The analysis shows that the results of certain diseases like abdominal complaints, back ache/slip discs, eye and ear troubles are not statistically significant and these problems can not be avoided by the use of protective devices whereas the differences of proportions of certain other diseases like headache/nausea, respiratory problems and skin diseases were found to be statistically significant implying thereby that the incidents of such diseases can be controlled if the workers use preventives regularly. It was also found that diseases such as abdominal complaints, headache, respiratory, eye and ear troubles and back ache show the tendency to increase with the length of the service/exposure and some other diseases like skin problems and mental disorders show the tendency to decrease with the passage of time. With the exception of the association between job satisfaction and physical health, which is moderately positive, there is high degree of positive association amongst job satisfaction – mental health and work environment; work environment – physical and mental health. Thus, we can conclude that the healthier working conditions leads to greater job satisfaction, which is turn positively affect the physical as well as mental health of the workers.