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Occupational health hazards are rapidly increasing worldwide because workers operate in an environment considered to be the most hazardous occupational setting. Globally, workplace safety does not occur without a challenge especially in a resource-constrained setup.

This is further worsened by poor hazard control system This study was therefore designed to Investigating the Prevalence of Occupational Health Hazards Amongst Health Care Workers at the Limbe Regional Hospital. It was noticed that a healthy worker is vital to sustainable economic and social development at the global, national, and local levels.

In this study, many health care workers such as nurses, technicians, and others have shown to be more prone to occupational such as biological, chemical, physical, and organizational hazards. A cross-sectional hospital based descriptive study was carried out involving 74 participants using a convenient sampling technique and with the help of a questionnaire.

Descriptive analysis of collected data showed that 65% of the respondents had adequate knowledge about occupational hazards and safety, 65% of the respondents had adequate knowledge about occupational hazards and safety.   65% equally knew the hazards they faced during the performance of their duties and 69% agreed that there is a risk of contracting infection or injury in your workplace.

In conclusion, the OHS of health workers in the Limbe regional hospital has been compromised in some aspects as a result of various factors on the part of both the employers and the health workers themselves, coupled with the lack of or implementation of safety legislation and polices in the facilities. Therefore, there is a need for the development of safety programs, improvement in equipment and surveillance systems to register, report and manage occupational hazards.



1.1 Background to Study

Worldwide, the healthcare workforce represents 12% of the working population. Healthcare workers operate in an environment that is considered to be one of the most hazardous occupational settings (Geoffery Mosiguzi et al., 2015). In addition to the usual workplace-related exposures, healthcare workers encounter diverse hazards due to their work-related activities.

These hazards could be broadly divided into biological, chemical, and physical hazards, ergonomic factors, organizational problems, and psychosocial hazards (African Newsletter, 2010).  Occupational health and safety measures; provides moral, legal, and economic benefits. It has therefore become necessary for institutional bodies to take up the duty and responsibility of ensuring the safety of its employee (Nwankwo et al., 2017).

According to the World Health Organization (WHO 2019), an estimated 59 million people work in healthcare facilities globally, accounting for roughly 12% of the working population who are reportedly exposed to occupational hazards.

According to ILO estimation (2019) globally, poor occupational health and safety results every day, people die as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases with more than 2.78 million deaths per year. Additionally, there are some

374 million non-fatal work-related injuries and illnesses each year, many of these resulting in extended absences from work. Workplace-related health impairments, injuries, and illnesses cause great human suffering and incur high costs, both for those affected and for society as a whole.

The International Labor Organization (ILO, 2014) reported that millions of healthcare workers suffer from work-related diseases and accidents, and many succumb to occupational hazards. Tullar et al. (2010) stated that the healthcare workers at greatest risk are doctors, healthcare professionals, nurses, laboratory technicians, and medical waste handlers.

In spite of this knowledge the healthcare  work environment continues to be neglected by governments and organizations translated into a higher annual prevalence of back pain (77%) among healthcare workers as compared to other occupational groups has been reported.

Workplace safety greatly depends on the enforcement of occupational safety policy and inspection of workplace environment to ensure compliance with health and safety standard. Compliance is obtained specifically through active efforts made to reduce occupational hazards when it is not possible to effectively stop them (Nwankwo et al., 2017).

About 10 % of health workers in the European Union may be exposed to a very wide variety of risks. The combination of such diverse risks arising at the same time and the fact that this is clearly a high-risk sector have given rise to a debate on the need for a specific approach in order to improve the protection of the health and safety of hospital personnel at Union level (European Commission, 2010).

In developing countries, the risk of having a work-related injury is 10 to 20 times higher than that of developed counties. This is because, in developing countries, majority of the workforce is employed in small and medium scale industries that do not meet the minimum standards and guidelines set by the WHO (2019) and the ILO (2014) for occupational health, safety, and social protection).

In sub-Saharan Africa, the scarcity of human resources for health is described as a humanitarian resource crisis due to significant emigration of trained professionals, difficult working conditions, poor salaries, low motivation, and high burden of infectious diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS. Evidence from sub-Saharan Africa indicates that healthcare workers are frequently exposed to chemical, biological, physical, and psychosocial occupational hazards.

They are constantly in contact with patients that expose them to infections and thus require proper protective measures to reduce their risk of acquisition of disease or injury (Geoffreit et al, 2015).

In Cameroon, most workers in the informal sector often toil for low wages, poor and dilapidating working conditions in an unhealthy environment. There is a necessity for these conditions to be improved. Other challenges of works in this sector are variation in temperatures, foreign bodies, burns, parasitic infections, and lengthy hours of work.

Also, needle prick, lack of infrastructure, and inadequate sanitary facilities are major problems. Buea, health facilities had a moderate level of hospital health safety programs and a poor incident case report system (Eyakwe Irene 2019). Data on occupational hazards among healthcare workers and their mitigation measures remain scarce in most of Africa and Cameroon in particular.

1.2 Problem Statement

Health care workers are challenged by an imposing group of occupational hazards. These hazards include exposure to ionizing radiation, stress, injury, infectious agents, chemicals, and even deaths. The magnitude and diversity of these hazards are not fully appreciated (Roscoe M. & Ronald G, 1990).

Most developing countries may not have surveillance for occupational exposure to health hazards in health institutions, thereby limiting estimation of the exact magnitude of such hazards. Universal precaution awareness education has not been fully pronounced among health care workers, particularly in developing countries (Nwankwo et al., 2017).

Job satisfaction has an effect on turnover and absenteeism and it is influenced by good physical working conditions, organizational and management support, and safety at work (Dieleman et al., 2006).

Cameroon is one of the African nations experiencing a crisis in human resources for health. There are approximately 1.1 physicians and 7.8 nurses and midwives per 10,000 populations (WHO

AHWO Cameroon Fact Sheet, 2010). The Lack of regulations, lack of an ongoing accreditation system for HRH education and training, Limited HRH production planning and recruitment, poor infrastructures, lack of modern equipment, high patient-to-worker ratio, and maintenance of equipment exposed health workers to health hazards.

In order to address these shortfalls listed above, there is the need for research to identify the current sources of occupational injury and stress that negatively influence the health, well-being, and quality of work-life for health workers in the public hospitals, from which recommendations can be made to create practice environments that promote the health and well-being of the current and future healthcare workforce as it is vital to the future of the healthcare system.

1.3 Rationale

Healthcare professionals in Cameroon and most especially limbs are exposed to a myriad of occupational health and safety hazards, including physical, biological, chemical, ergonomic, and psychosocial hazards.

Healthcare professionals working in hospitals and healthcare facilities are more likely to be subjected to these hazards than their counterparts working in other areas. Hospitals and healthcare facilities have many unique occupational health and safety hazards that can potentially affect the health and performance of healthcare professionals.

The impact of such hazards on healthcare professionals poses a serious public health issue in Cameroon. Therefore, controlling, eliminating, or reducing exposure can contribute to a stronger healthcare workforce with great potential to improve patient care and the healthcare system in Cameroon.

Eliminating or reducing hazards can best be achieved through engineering measures, administrative policy, and the use of personal protective equipment. This review has research, policy, and practice implications and provides future students and researchers with information on systematic review methodologies based on the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews. It also identifies occupational health and safety risks and provides insights and strategies to address them.

1.4 Research Questions

To investigate more about the prevalence of occupational health hazards among health care workers in medicalized health centers at the Regional Hospital Limbe. To answer this question, the following specific questions guided the study

  1. What do health care workers know about related health hazards at the Limbe Regional Hospital?
  2. What are the risk factors of occupational health hazards among health care workers at the Limbe Regional Hospital?
  3. What are the challenges faced in the prevention of occupational health hazards among health care workers at the Limbe Regional Hospital?


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