Knowledge of Occupational Hazards and their Perceived Effects among Operating Theatre Workers : Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

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Knowledge of Occupational Hazards and their Perceived Effects among Operating Theatre Workers

Olorunfemi, Olaolorunpo; Osunde, Ngozi Rosemary1; Ilaboya, Idowu Edith2; Oko-Ose, Josephine Ngozi3; Ehidiamen-Edobor, Onome Roseline4; Akpor, Oluwaseyi Abiodun5

Author Information
Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 26(1):p 29-32, Jan–Mar 2022. | DOI: 10.4103/ijoem.ijoem_270_21
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Background and Aims: 

Health workers’ attempt to provide quality care, makes them vulnerable to occupational hazards. Hence, the current study was done to assess the knowledge of occupational hazards and their perceived effects among operating theatre workers in the University of Benin teaching hospital, Nigeria.


A cross-sectional study was conducted among the health workers from March to December 2018. The data were collected through a self-structured questionnaire and analyzed by mean, standard deviation, and Chi-square test.


It was found that there was high knowledge about the preventive measures and perceived effects of occupational hazards.


The current study found that the high level of knowledge demonstrated by the participants was at variance with practice. Hence, the health policymakers need to put up measures promoting safety practices, such as the provision of safety equipment, routine training for staff, adequate reinforcement, capacity and capability drilling, and health revenue cycle consultancy services should be institutionalized and made mandatory for all hospitals.


Occupational Hazards among operating theater workers have been of great concern globally; it is a condition surrounding a working environment that increases the chance of death or disability of the employee. The operating room is characterized by multidimensional and complex environments that make health workers susceptible to occupational hazards and injuries.[1] In most cases, it results in various forms of disabilities, loss of manpower, decreased productivity, and most of the time inevitable death of workers. Also, the occupational health hazard is a threat to the quality of health care services[2] because the health and well-being of health workers and their patients are greatly influenced by the quality of the working environment. It is shocking to note that the occupational hazard is preventable by directing all the available tools, science, training, research, and educational programs toward a safe working environment. The complexity of operating room's working environment is determined by various occupational hazards and risks ranging from accidental, physical, chemical, biological, ergonomic, psychosocial, and organizational hazards,[3] and daily exposure to this kind of working environment make health workers be more vulnerable. Base on this noted challenge, this study aimed to determine the knowledge of occupational health hazards and their perceived effect among operating theatre workers at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin-City, Nigeria.


Study design, setting and population

A cross-sectional analytical study was conducted among the health workers within the operating theatre complex at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) for a period of 10 months (March 2019 to December 201 9). UBTH is a tertiary hospital, situated in the Egor local government area of Benin-City, Edo State, Nigeria. The theatre complex comprises the main theatre, labor ward theatre, ophthalmic theatre, and the accident and emergency theatre. It comprises around 150 health workers employed to work in the operating theatre complex. All health workers with more than 1 year of working experience were eligible to participate in this study.

Sample size calculation and sampling technique

Sample size was calculated using the Taro Yamane method for sample size calculation, n = N/(1 + N (e)2. Where: n is the sample size, N is the population of the study, “e” is the margin error in the calculation = 5%, 95% confidence interval,[4] the minimum sample size was calculated to be 73. After accounting for a 10% nonresponse rate, the final sample size was estimated to be 80. There were about 90 health workers eligible to participate in this study. The nonprobability quota sampling method was used to recruit the eligible participants for this study.

Study procedure

First approval and ethical clearance was obtained from the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, health research ethics committee on January 31, 2018 with reference number: ADMIN/E22/A/VOL.VII/14830919 to conduct the study after which informed written consent from the eligible participants was taken. The research instrument was designed to give room for respondents to give either positive or negative responses. The questionnaire consisted of three sections: namely sections A, B, and C. Section A dealt with socio-demographic data of the respondents. Section B was made up of items that measured knowledge of theatre workers on occupational hazards, whereas section C was made up of items that measured perceived effects of occupational hazards.

Statistical analysis

The data obtained were coded and analyzed using SPSS statistical software version 21.00 (IBM corp released 2012 Armonk, NY: IBM Corp). Variables and research questions were analyzed using mean, standard deviation, and Chi-square statistics.


In total, 80 health workers were approached for inclusion in this study. However, only 74 filled the questionnaire and returned it. The demographic characteristics are provided in Table 1. About 2/3 of the respondents were male, and the highest age range fell between 25 and 34 of age, with a mean age of 36.5 (0.27). Table 2 shows a high level of knowledge on occupational hazards among the participants, whereas Table 3 shows the mean (standard deviation) scores of the perceived effect of occupational hazards as they reduces workers’ productivity 2.7 (1.57), lead to loss of life 3.6 (2.07), cause disabilities 3.4 (1.97), lead to loss of skills 2.1 (1.19), result in workers dissatisfaction 2.0 (1.16), absenteeism 3.6 (2.07), result in poor working environment 3.5 (2.03), drain the income of the workers 2.9 (1.68), and reduce workers’ productivity 3.5 (2.03), respectively. Table 4 shows that there was no statistical relationship between knowledge and practice of preventive measures with P value of 0.472 at 0.05 level of significance.

Table 1:
Socio-demographic characteristics among theatre workers in University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria
Table 2:
Knowledge and Types of occupation hazard of occupational hazard among theatre workers in university of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria
Table 3:
Perceived effect occupational hazards among theatre workers in University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria
Table 4:
Relationship between knowledge and practice of prevention of occupational hazard


Knowledge of occupational hazard among theatre workers

This study shows a high level of knowledge on occupational hazards, but not all theatre workers wore gloves while attending to patients this contradicts the findings by Kim et al.[5] in 2018 on evaluation of anesthesiologists’ knowledge about occupational health, and they found that despite the comprehensive education program for health workers, knowledge remained inadequate.

But a study among registered nurses in the North of Jordan, on the compliance with universal/standard precautions is in agreement with this present study, they also found high knowledge with low compliance.[6]

The perceived effect of an occupational hazards among theatre workers

This present study shows that occupational hazards among theatre workers reduce workers’ productivity, cause loss of life, disabilities, workers’ dissatisfaction, absenteeism, poor working environment, and income draining. This result is in agreement with a study carried out by Laird et al.,[7] in 2020, they also found that noise in the working place has both physical and psychological effects, such as the hearing deficit, communication difficulty, and perceived increase in general stress. Having considered the effect on occupational health hazards and the safety policy on employees’ performance, Leso et al.,[8] 2018 concluded that when workers understand the health and safety rules and procedures of their job and the tools used for working, it helps them to work effectively and efficiently resulting in better performance of employees.


The flaws identified by this study have far and wide consequences on the operating theater workers in hospitals, and consequently on the quality of health care delivered to patients. Therefore, this necessitated a concerted effort by all health care players, especially the hospital infection and hazard control committee, the management of the board, as well as government to adequately neutralize work-related hazards across the health care industry in Nigeria by adequate provision of appropriate safety kits and personal protective equipment (PPEs). Pre-employment and routine training on safety precautionary practices should be institutionalized and full immunization of all health care workers (HCWs) against vaccine-preventable, contagious diseases, and encourage reporting and documentation of all cases of exposure to occupational hazards to the designated authority for proper record keeping and prevention of future occurrences. In addition, the postexposure prophylaxis unit in hospitals should be strengthened for immediate response to manage the aftermaths of exposure of HCWs to occupational hazards. Besides enforcement of existing laws on occupational safety at work places, health workers should be mandated and monitored to increase adherence. This should also include strategic policy level measures to mitigate shortages in operating theater workers. Furthermore, health promotion and routine monitoring visits by the infection control committee and the committee and other monitoring team will help in reducing the cases of an occupational hazards among HCWs in our health care facility in Nigeria.

This study was limited to operating theatre workers in a single hospital; this may not give an accurate representation of theatre workers’ knowledge and practice in Nigeria, thereby limiting the generalizability of the findings.

Authors contributions

All the authors participated in all the stages of this article.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


The authors sincerely appreciate all the nurses that participated in the study.


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Knowledge; occupational hazards; perceived effects; theatre workers

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