Occupational hazards and public health concerns of migrant construction workers: an epidemiological study in southern India

C. J. Nirmala, S. Dharaneesh Prasad


Background: Construction industry is one of the stable growing industries of the world and construction labour form 7.5% of the world labour force. In India, it is the largest economic activity after agriculture. Migrant construction workers are at a greater risk of developing certain health disorders and sickness than workers in many other industries. The objective was to study the socio demographic profile, morbidity profile among construction workers.

Methods: A cross sectional study conducted at two construction sites in southern Bangalore and all workers were enrolled as study subjects. Data was collected using a pretested semi structured questionnaire. Statistical analysis used: descriptive statistics like percentages and Chi square test for test of significance.

Results: Majority of the study population belonged to 15-45 years age group (87.3%), class IV (40.3%) socioeconomic status, Hindu religion (85%). Around 40% of them were illiterates and 68% of them were unskilled workers, rest semiskilled workers. Around 50% were from Raichur district of North Karnataka. Prevalence of injury was 8%, musculo-skeletal problems were around 50% followed by respiratory infections and gastrointestinal infections.

Conclusions: The prevalence of musculoskeletal problems, respiratory problems and gastrointestinal infections was reported to be high among unskilled and semiskilled construction workers. There is need for health education and other prevention strategies for control of the same. Measures are needed to improve the work environment of construction workers by ensuring availability of personal protective equipments, good living conditions and sanitation facilities at the sites. 


Occupational hazard, Migrant workers, Morbidity

Full Text:



Shah KR, Tiwari RR. Occupational skin problems in construction workers. Indian J Dermatol. 2010;55:348-51.

Kulkarni GK. Construction industry: More needs to be done. Indian J Occup Environ Med. 2007;11:1-2.

Tiwary G, Gangopadhyay PK. A review on the occupational health and social security of unorganized workers in the construction industry. Indian J Occup Environ Med. 2011;15:18-24.

Taimela S, Laara E, Malmivaara A, Tiekso J, Sintonen H, Justen S, et al. Self-reported health problems and sickness absence in different age groups predominantly engaged in physical work. Occup Environ Med. 2007;64:739-46.

Gurav RB, Kartikeyan S, Wayal R, Joshi SD. Assessment of daily wage labourers. Indian J Occup Environ Med. 2005;9:115-7.

Adsul BB, Laad PS, Howal PV, Chaturvedi RM. Health problems among migrant construction workers: A unique public-private partnership project. Indian J Occup Environ Med. 2011;15:29-32.

Schneider SP. Musculoskeletal injuries in construction: A review of the literature. Appl Occup Environ Hyg. 2001;16:1056-64.

Bodhare T, Valsangkar S, Bele S. An epidemiological study of work-related musculoskeletal disorders among construction workers in Karimnagar, Andhra Pradesh. Indian J Community Med. 2011;36:304-7.

Mohopatra R. Occupational health hazards in small scale and other industries. In: Mohopatra R, editor. Occupational Health Hazards and Remedies. 1st ed. New Delhi: Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers Pvt. Ltd.; 2002: 54-55,203-204.

Jayakrishnan T, Thomas B, Rao B, George B. Occupational health problems of construction workers in India. Int J Med Public Health. 2013;3:225-9.

Haslam RA, Hide SA, Gibb AG, Gyi DE, Pavitt T, Atkinson S, et al. Contributing factors in construction accidents. Appl Ergon. 2005;36:401-15.

Shah CK, Mehta H. Study of injuries among construction workers in Ahmadabad city, Gujarat. Indian J Pract Doct. 2009;5:4-8.