Introduction: The Indian textile industry is one of the largest in the world and accounts for 21% of the total employment generated in the Indian economy. The current burden of occupational health diseases is estimated to be around 18 million cases.
Objectives: To study the pattern of diseases which are common among textile workers.
Methods: A descriptive study was conducted among 179 women working in a textile industry in Puducherry. After obtaining informed consent, data was collected using a structured questionnaire. This was followed by systemic examination of Sensory systems (visual acuity testing using Snellen’s chart, hearing tests using Tuning fork), Respiratory system (using Peak Expiratory Flow Meter) and Musculoskeletal system (Straight leg raising test and others). Data was analyzed using SPSS version 19:IBM.
Results: 70% of the participants belonged to the age group 21-40 years and more than half of the women were employed for 5-9 yrs. One fourth of the subjects had complaints of musculoskeletal problems such as joint pain, myalgia and chronic low backache. Respiratory infections and other complaints were also reported. Nearly 40% of the study subjects had myopia, 3% had abnormality in hearing and Peak Expiratory Flow Rate was reduced in 53% of cases.
Conclusion: The present study shows that myopia is common among the workers, along with abnormal lung function, which indicates a need for, preplacement and periodic medical examination to rule out ophthalmic and pulmonary morbidities.