ASSESSMENT OF THE LEVEL OF AWARENESS IN OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH AMONG PESTICIDES HANDLERS IN KISUMU COUNTY, KENYA
Keywords:Pesticides, awareness, exposure, PPEs, Kisumu, Kenya
Pesticides are chemicals used to control, destroy, attract or repel pests. Exposures to these chemicals occur through inhalation, ingestion and contact. Lack of knowledge, information and inadequate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) increases the risk of exposure to pesticides. There is therefore need to assess the awareness level of pesticides handlers. To this effect a survey targeting 464 pesticides handlers (384 farmers and 80 stockists) was carried out in Kisumu County in the month of October, 2015. Data were collected by use of questionnaires. Chi-square test (χ2-test) was used to test the associations between independent and dependent variables. Results indicated that the majority 97% of the participants were aware that pesticides have negative effects on human health: 96% of the participants could read and understand instructions on pesticides labels and 76% were aware of pesticides exposure level. Inhalation (97%) was the most known route of exposure. Gloves (85%) and dust coat/apron (69%) were the most commonly used PPEs. There was significant association between the age and awareness on pesticides exposure level (χ2 = 24.611; p < 0.00), knowledge on exposure through contact (χ2 = 13.757; p < 0.02), dust mask use (χ2 = 12.122; p < 0.03) and dust coat/apron use (χ2 = 12.789; p < 0.03). Participants with higher level of education were more instructed on safe handling of pesticides than those with lower (χ2 = 11.304; p< 0.00). The majority (96%) who had experience of more than 24 months knew ingestions as a route of exposure to pesticides. The difference was significant (χ2 = 11.914; p< 0.01). Therefore, it is recommended that special pesticide safety and health trainings, IPM training and legislation be developed to impact knowledge and promote safe handling of pesticides in Kisumu County.