Respiratory function of workers at a construction company in Bangalore Urban district
Keywords:construction worker, migrant worker, respiratory function, peak flow meter
Introduction: Construction sector is one among the largest employers in India. Most of the construction workers are migrants susceptible to occupational health hazards. Construction workers are exposed to a variety of dust and chemicals that may pose a risk to the respiratory system. There is paucity of data on the respiratory function of construction workers in India.
Objectives: The objectives were to assess the respiratory function of construction workers and to study possible factors associated with the respiratory function of these construction workers.
Methodology: A cross sectional study was conducted among 197 workers in a construction company in Bangalore Urban district from November - December 2010. The study tools were an interview schedule to study the respiratory function and possible associated factors and clinical examination which included anthropometry (height, weight) and Wright’s mini peak flow meter to measure peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR). The data was analyzed using standard statistical software.
Results: Among male workers, the mean PEFR was 457.43 l/min (SD 65.38 l/min) while among female workers, the mean PEFR was 326 l/min (SD 46.95 l/min). Respiratory function as measured by peak flow meter was decreased in 127 (64.5%) workers. The current reported tobacco smoking was 41.2% (77) among 187 males. Only 3 (1.5%) workers reported to use of face mask. There was no significant association (p>0.05) between respiratory function, and duration of work more than a year at construction company, use of face mask or smoking.
Conclusion: This preliminary study revealed that the respiratory function among the workers was decreased. More precise studies with population control matched for age using pulmonary function tests are needed to assess the findings of the study.