Information was collected on working conditions and personal exposures to dust, bacteria, and fungi in sisal fiber processing factories in Tanzania to identify health hazards and possible needs for preventive measures. Walkthrough surveys were performed in the brushing and decorticating departments of six sisal factories. The number of departments showing adequate scores for ergonomics and work organization, physical working environment, and occupational health items were determined. Personal thoracic dust samples were collected during sisal processing and analyzed for concentration of dust (n = 24) and for fungi and bacteria (n = 32). In both departments, most items considered to be a prerequisite for a good working environment were either missing or inadequate. Ergonomic and physical hazards were observed. Repetitive strenuous tasks, awkward work postures, and high noise levels were found. Visible dust and inadequate ventilation were seen in the brushing departments, and wet floors were observed in the decortication departments. Personal protective equipment was hardly used. The arithmetic mean exposure of sisal processors was 1.2 mg thoracic dust/m3, 43 × 106 bacteria/ m3, and 2.35 × 106 fungal spores/m3. The highest exposure levels were measured in the decortication departments when machines were cleaned of waste. Significant differences were found for...

Kayumba, Akwilina Victory; Bråtveit, Magne; Mashalla, Yohana J.S.; Baste, Valborg; Eduard, Wijnand; Moen, Bente Elisabeth
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene 6(3): 165–173
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