Occurrence of occupational injuries at a railway construction industry in Pretoria, South Africa

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Paul Kiprono Chelule
Irene Serole Legodi


Occupational injuries have emerged as a major public health problem because of its effects on health of employees. In order to minimize injuries in the construction industry, it is important to document the extent of the problem, and that includes the prevalence of such injuries in the workplace. This was a descriptive quantitative survey aimed to investigate the types and causes of injuries that occurred amongst construction workers at a railway construction industry in Pretoria, South Africa between the years 2011 and 2014. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize data and determine the frequency of events. Logistic regression was used to test the association between contributing factors and occurrence of occupational injuries.

A total of 204 workers completed the questionnaire (82% response rate). Most common injuries reported were bruises (31%), lacerations (29%), muscle sprain (11%), burns (10%) and (8%) fractures. Two-thirds of the respondents worked overtime and more than half (56%) of them worked overtime every-day after hours including or excluding holidays. Almost all participants had access to personal protective clothing. Most injuries were caused by moving objects (32%) and stationery machines (28%). Young and middle-aged trainees and contract workers were the most frequent group reporting injuries significantly than the older permanent workers (p<0.05).

In conclusion, this study has shown that the major factors contributing to injuries at Railway Construction Industry Pretoria include young age, worker experience, working overtime and night shifts. Workable strategies need to be formulated to further mitigate for these injuries.

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