AWARENESS OF PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT USE AMONG WORKERS IN TRANSFORMATIVE BAMBOO HOME-BASED INDUSTRY IN LAMPANG, THAILAND

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Theerarat Boonkuna, RN, MSc, PhD
Patana Nakatong, RN, PhD

Abstract

Transformative bamboo home-based work contains a process of transforming raw bamboo into various types of products such as meatball and ice cream skewers, chopsticks, and tooth pieces. Each unstandardized process may lead the workers to expose to work-related health risk factors. Awareness of using personal protective equipment (PPE) may help the workers concern about health risk factors in the workplace. This qualitative study aimed at exploring the workers awareness to use PPE. 15 samples, five males, and ten females were interviewed within 45 minutes using semi-structured questions. The data analysis was performed by transcribed data with type verbatim. Looking for a relationship and a connection between the data and then categorizing and creating a conclusion.


The findings showed the five (5) concepts related to the awareness of PPE use as followed; 1) experience, the workers past work experiences or the time when those workers witnessed the illnesses and injuries at work led them to become more conscious of PPE use while working; 2) the perception of negative effects on their health, such as being afraid of getting sick or having work-related injuries, had brought the awareness; 3) provision of the safety equipment, provided by the entrepreneurs, helped to reduce the workers expense of purchasing safety equipment on their own for work; 4) comfortability, when the workers wore additional layers of the outfit and used other equipment for safety (gloves and mask), some of them reported the discomfort of using PPE. However, they would be somewhat aware of the adverse effects on their health. They ended up using safety equipment although the PPE made a discomfort feeling; and 5) work environment, the workers had concerned that home-based workplace was not a standard workplace. The environment had exposed the workers to the factors contributing to health problems. This had brought about the awareness of the use of safety equipment in the workplace.


The suggestions would be entrepreneurs shall raise the awareness of safety equipment use at work by providing sufficient and standard equipment for the workers and making the work environment safe and up to standard. Moreover, health care professions should inform knowledge on the negative impact of working on health and also use the workers experience to raise their awareness of safety equipment usage.

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