Published: 2021-11-24

Morbidity profile of workers and workplace assessment in selected soap industries in Puducherry

Iniyaazh Sundar Raj, Shanthosh Priyan Sundaram


Background: The high risk, fast-paced industrial expansion reflects unique health and safety challenges for occupational health and safety resulting in increasing incidence of various injuries and health morbidities. This warrants the assessment of morbidity profile and workplace assessment of the workers.

Methods: A facility based cross sectional descriptive study was carried out among 305 workers of selected soap industries in Puducherry for a period of four months from September to December 2018. Workers were interviewed using a semi-structured questionnaire for their morbidity profile and work ability along with skin patch test and spirometry. Finally, workplace assessment was done.

Results: Of 305 workers interviewed, eczema was reported in two workers and generalized pruritus in 4.9% of the workers. In patch test, 9 (34.6%) workers were sensitive to Paraphenylenediamine among 26 workers tested. Upper respiratory tract infection was reported in 17.3% and breathlessness in 4.6% of the employees. Spirometer was abnormal in 5.9% of the workers. Hypertension was diagnosed for the first time in 10.3% of the workers. Work ability index was good in 99.0% of the workers. The most common illness in the past six months was febrile illness. Workers who availed treatment from the private facility were 35.9%. Working environment was better in large-scale industries as compared to the small-scale industries.

Conclusions: The morbidity of workers in selected soap industries were very less as majority of the workers was from the organized sectors with regular periodic examination. Hence further studies concentrating only on the unorganized small-scale industries are recommended.


Cross sectional descriptive, Patch test, Spirometry

Full Text:



Health, Environment & Work. What is Occupational Health?, 2019. Available at: Accessed on 24 October 2021.

WHO. Regional Strategy on Occupational Health and Safety in SEAR Countries, 2005. Available at: Accessed on 24 October 2021.

Meswani HR. Safety and occupational health: challenges and opportunities in emerging economies. Indian J Occup Environ Med. 2008;12(1):3-9.

Ezzati, Majid, Lopez, Alan D, Rodgers, Anthony A, et al. Comparative quantification of health risks: global and regional burden of disease attributable to selected major risk factors, 2004. Available at: Accessed on 24 October 2021.

National Institute of Health & Family Welfare. National programme for control & treatment of occupational diseases, 2014. Available at: Accessed on 24 October 2021.

Leigh J, Macaskill P, Kuosma E, Mandryk J. Global burden of disease and injury due to occupational factors. Epidemiology. 1999;10(5):626-31.

Ministry of Environment and Forests. Classification of industries for consent management (Red, Orange & Green Categories), 2015. Available at: Accessed on 24 October 2021.

Lushniak BD. The importance of occupational skin diseases in the United States. Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2003;76(5):325-30.

EU-OSHA. Work Ability Index, 2019. Available at: Accessed on 24 October 2021.

Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Kuczmarski RJ, Johnson CL. Overweight and obesity in the United States: prevalence and trends, 1960-1994. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1998;22(1):39-47.

Mokdad AH, Bowman BA, Ford ES, Vinicor F, Marks JS, Koplan JP. The continuing epidemics of obesity and diabetes in the United States. JAMA. 2001;286(10):1195-200.

Smith SM, Vale WW. The role of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in neuroendocrine responses to stress. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2006;8(4):383-95.

Schmidt S, Monk JM, Robinson LE, Mourtzakis M. The integrative role of leptin, oestrogen and the insulin family in obesity-associated breast cancer: potential effects of exercise. Obes Rev. 2015;16(6):473-87.

Engholm G, Holmström E. Dose-response associations between musculoskeletal disorders and physical and psychosocial factors among construction workers. Scand J Work Environ Health. 2005;31(2):57-67.

Silverstein BA, Fine LJ, Armstrong TJ. Hand wrist cumulative trauma disorders in industry. Br J Ind Med. 1986;43(11):779-84.

Sørensen L. Occupational skin diseases: reliability and utility of the data in the various registers; the course from notification to compensation and the costs. A case study from Denmark. Contact Dermatitis. 1998;39(2):71-8.

Fischer I, Hoek AK, Dapic I, Jakasa I, Kezic S, Fischer TW, et al. Barrier function and natural moisturizing factor levels after cumulative exposure to a fruit-derived organic acid and a detergent: different outcomes in atopic and healthy skin and relevance for occupational contact dermatitis in the food industry. Contact Dermatitis. 2015;73(6):358-63.

Narendra G, Srinivas CR. Patch testing with Indian standard series. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2002;68(5):281-2.

Ibraheem TM, Momen M, Mostafa NS. Survey of respiratory symptoms, spirometry, and RAST and their relation to occupational exposures among detergent products staff. Egypt J Occup Med. 2015;39(2):231-41.

Cathcart M, Nicholson P, Roberts D, Bazley M, Juniper C, Murray P, et al. Enzyme exposure, smoking and lung function in employees in the detergent industry over 20 years. Medical Subcommittee of the UK Soap and Detergent Industry Association. Occup Med. 1997;47(8):473-8.

Anbazhagan S, Ramesh N, Surekha A, Fathima FN, Melina, Anjali. Estimation of work capacity and work ability among plantation workers in South India. Indian J Occup Environ Med. 2016;20(2):79-83.

Kujala V, Tammelin T, Remes J, Vammavaara E, Ek E, Laitinen J. Work ability index of young employees and their sickness absence during the following year. Scand J Work Environ Health. 2006;32(1):75-84.