: A study on the knowledge, attitude and practice of eye safety among Jua Kali industry workers in Nairobi, Kenya
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Purpose: To describe the knowledge, patterns of personal protective equipment use and of health seeking behaviour in the event of work-related eye injury, and attitudes towards eye safety.

Study methodology: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study that involved interviews and nonparticipant observations for quantitative data, and focus group discussions and key informant interviews for qualitative data. 68 participants from two high risk Jua Kali groups: mechanics in “Grogon” and metal workers in Kamukunji, Gikomba were sampled for the interviews and observations. Convenient sampling was used to select the starting point for the interviews and observations, and thereafter, purposive sampling was used to include workers performing the range of activities at the sites. Two focus group discussions and three key informant interviews were conducted and audio-recorded after the interviews and observations were completed and analysed, using interview guides, in the presence of a moderator. Qualitative data was analysed using Nvivo QSR, and quantitative data was analysed using Stata version 10, with statistical tests performed at a 5% statistical significance level.

Findings: Majority of the participants(86.8%) had knowledge on the risks and mechanisms of work-related eye injuries, and 73% had knowledge that these can be prevented through the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). There was a low rate of observed PPE use (11.8%), with a statistically significant correlation of PPE use with level of education and formal training (p value <0.001). The main reasons for the observed poor PPE compliance were ignorance of the threat of eye injury, unavailability and unaffordability of PPE, competing priorities, poor visibility and reduced dexterity while using PPE, and the lack of mentor/supervisor influence. There was a 30.9% prevalence of work-related eye injury but majority of the workers did not seek medical attention after sustaining eye injury. The main reasons for delayed or failure to seek medical attention in the event of eye injury were the perception that the injury was minor, relief from temporizing measures, lack of funds, competing priorities and the cost implications of work opportunities lost while seeking medical attention.

Conclusions: There is a high level of awareness of the risk of work-related eye injury and of how these can be prevented. There is poor compliance to PPE use, and a poor attitude towards occupational eye safety. The poor attitude may be the gap between the high levels of awareness and the low levels of practice, and this needs to be addressed using a multicomponent behavioural approach.





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