Occupational Health Southern Africa - latest Issue
Volume 23, Issue 1, Jan / Feb 2017
Diagnostic challenges of silico-tuberculosis in a case with progressive massive fibrosis – a Zimbabwe case reportSource: Occupational Health Southern Africa 23, pp 11 –13 (Jan / Feb 2017)More Less
This is a case study of an ex-gold miner with an exposure duration to silica dust of 13 years, presenting with silicotuberculosis and progressive massive fibrosis. We describe his tortuous and expensive route to diagnosis after being treated with antibiotics during his several visits to the local district hospital, and the challenges associated with diagnosis and management of such complicated cases in poorly-resourced developing countries. The case highlights the plight of ex-miners needing continuous medical care after retirement. We recommend the setting up of a dedicated national occupational health surveillance system for ex-workers in Zimbabwe as the key in the prompt investigation and diagnosis of occupational diseases; training and education in occupational health for clinicians in primary healthcare centres; and specific training in the early identification of silicosis, asbestosis and coal workers pneumoconiosis.
Source: Occupational Health Southern Africa 23, pp 14 –20 (Jan / Feb 2017)More Less
Infectious diseases are a major concern in the workplace, be they associated with work processes or community-acquired infections spread in the workplace; and their prevention and management require the implementation of robust prevention and control strategies. The transmission of infectious agents is a weak link in the chain of infection and one where intervention may have the greatest chance of breaking the cycle of infection. Consideration of the mode of transmission is a critical factor in prevention programmes. Adequate control measures for elimination or containment of the infectious source, followed by early detection of disease and promotion of best practices, complemented by appropriate training, are fundamental to managing hazardous biological exposures in the workplace.
Source: Occupational Health Southern Africa 23, pp 21 –25 (Jan / Feb 2017)More Less
Background: Radiographic film processing chemicals contain hazardous substances which are known irritants, sensitisers, corrosives, carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. Radiology personnel have reported serious adverse health effects and some personnel have left the profession due to sensitisation to processing chemicals. Exposure is often due to lack of knowledge about occupational health risks, poor structural design, substandard personal protective equipment (PPE), and poor ventilation.
Objective: This study investigated occupational health and safety practices in conventional radiographic film processing personnel in Limpopo province, South Africa.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional descriptive survey in 10 conveniently sampled hospitals in Limpopo province. A self-administered questionnaire and a darkroom checklist were used to collect data on participants’ demographic characteristics, types and usage of PPE, symptoms associated with exposure to processing chemicals, darkroom designs, and ventilation systems used in the darkrooms.
Results: In total, 57 radiographers and darkroom operators participated in the study. There was a shortage of PPE supplies, and the available PPE was inadequate for protection. Overall PPE usage was very high at 84.2% but the majority of participants (87.7%) reported work-related symptoms. Darkrooms were poorly designed and ventilated. There was no relationship between work-related symptoms and participants’ socio-demographic characteristics. Failure to use gloves was significantly associated with fatigue (p=0.036) and severe headache (p=0.017). Symptoms were more prevalent in darkrooms where the entrance led straight into the X-ray room (p=0.000), or into offices and viewing areas (p=0.001).
Conclusion: Digital radiography will eventually completely eliminate occupational health risks associated with conventional film processing. However, because some health effects can manifest many years after exposure, monitoring the long-term health effects of exposure to processing chemicals is essential so that symptoms can be linked to occupational toxins.
Author C. van SelmSource: Occupational Health Southern Africa 23, pp 26 –28 (Jan / Feb 2017)More Less
Dysfunction at workplaces often relates to occupationally-associated risks that encompass clinical and legal criteria, and impact on health and safety. This also relates to inappropriate and prolonged exposures to various hazards, interspersed with behavioural dysfunction.
Author Cecilia KeetSource: Occupational Health Southern Africa 23, pp 29 –29 (Jan / Feb 2017)More Less
Early Morning start! I set off early to get to the site – today was the start of the three-month asbestos roof sheeting removal project and there was a long distance to drive. The plan had been submitted 14 days before and all was good for Go’. Here in the Western Cape, the 14-day notification period to the Department of Labour (DoL) is strictly upheld. Don’t dare start a day earlier! As it should be …
Source: Occupational Health Southern Africa 23, pp 30 –46 (Jan / Feb 2017)More Less
The 2016 SAIOH Annual Conference was organised by the Mpumalanga Branch of SAIOH and was hosted in the beautiful setting of Graskop, Mpumalanga, and against the awe-inspiring backdrop of the Three Rondavels, along the pristine Panorama Route. The programme consisted of two professional development courses (PDCs), four keynote addresses, and 33 oral and poster presentations.
Sonke research on the gendered dimensions of silicosis published in the Guardian, Mail and Guardian and GroundUpSource: Occupational Health Southern Africa 23, pp 47 –47 (Jan / Feb 2017)More Less
Four opinion pieces on Sonke’s research on the gendered dimensions of silicosis drew attention to the legitimate claims for compensation by women onto whom the mines displaced the responsibility for caring for mineworkers with silicosis, and call on the mining industry to stop obstructing justice.
Source: Occupational Health Southern Africa 23, pp 48 –49 (Jan / Feb 2017)More Less
We can look back on numerous successes and achievements during 2016. First, I, Jaco Pieterse (now in my capacity of Immediate Past President) want to thank all the members of SAIOH’s Office, Council and the Management Board 2016, who worked together tirelessly in attaining these achievements. One of our main missions for 2016 was to revive the SAIOH Liaison Forum meetings; this was achieved with the aid and assistance of Claudina Nogueira, who did most of the groundwork.
Source: Occupational Health Southern Africa 23, pp 50 –51 (Jan / Feb 2017)More Less
The South African Society of Occupational Medicine (SASOM) Gauteng Chapter hosted the SASOM Annual General Meeting (AGM) and associated conference at Glenburn Lodge in Muldersdrift, Gauteng, on Saturday 26 November 2016. The last Executive Committee (ExCo) meeting of the year was held on Friday evening, at the same venue.
Author Karen MichellSource: Occupational Health Southern Africa 23, pp 54 –55 (Jan / Feb 2017)More Less
After 14 months of intense planning, the 12-member organising committee from SASOHN Eastern Cape was pleased with the outcome of the 2016 annual SASOHN conference, receiving extremely positive feedback from delegates and exhibitors alike. Thirty exhibitors promoted their products/services and delegates were treated to numerous useful handouts from these generous exhibitors.
Source: Occupational Health Southern Africa 23, pp 56 –56 (Jan / Feb 2017)More Less
The Department of Labour (DoL) is mandated to improve occupational health and safety in all sectors regulated by the Occupational Health and Safety Act No 85 of 1993. Among its many duties is the need to advocate, inspect and enforce the legislation in an effort to prevent occupational diseases, including those caused by exposure to hazardous biological agents (HBAs).