Evaluation of Occupational Health Practice in the Laundry and Linen Service at Kenyatta National Hospital, Nairobi City County, Kenya
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Health facility laundry ensures provision of enough, dirt free and continuous provision of garments for medical use. Main activities involve: Arranging, thorough cleaning, disinfecting, packing and dispatch of blankets, uniforms, gowns, towels, bed sheets, clothing, and apparel for patients, drapes and scrub suits among others. Safety hazards are features in the workplace with a potential to cause harm. This study aimed at evaluating occupational health practice of laundry and linen services at Kenyatta National Hospital in the Nairobi City County, Kenya. Specifically, the study sought to ascertain potential hazards, determine adherence levels and establish wet bulb globe temperature of workers in the Laundry and Linen Service at Kenyatta National Hospital. Those employees of all cadres who consented and had worked for at least three months were included, while those who met the inclusion criteria but were unwell at the time of the study were excluded .Sample size was determined using Yamane’s(1967) formula. The study adopted a cross-sectional analytical design through a questionnaire that was structured. One-forty (140) participants were recruited for interviewing through a systematic random sampling technique. Data was cleaned and analysis was done by use of version 22.0 of SPSS software. A Chi-test was calculated to show associations between variables. The results revealed that respondent’s age was significantly associated with knowledge (x2(2) = 5.483, p = 0.045, p<0.05) as well as association between religion and knowledge of common hazards within the laundry department ((x2(1) = 4.172, p = 0.041, p<0.05). The analysis of association revealed that age (x2(2) = 9.091, p = 0.011, p<0.05), level of education attained (x2(1) = 10.76, p = 0.001, p<0.05) and marital status (x2(2) = 9.768, p = 0.008, p<0.05) were had a signification association with knowledge on environmental aspects in laundry and linen services. The study has provided a strong understanding on important aspects regarding occupational health and safety practices within the facility. There were various types of hazards identified, adherence to OSH protocols had gaps and there was an elevated WBGT in some areas of the laundry department. The hospital has made significant efforts in implementing various health and safety programs which can be adopted across different departments. This include programs such as safety and health audit, training committees on safety and health and Occupational health surveillance However there have been significant challenges regarding implementation and ensuring that there is high level of sustainability in terms of supplies, resources and available knowledge among employees within the hospital. The adoption of different programs within the hospital has been integral in maintaining strong focus on important changes which help in defining improved outcomes. The hospital management needs to ensure that workers are continuously trained on existing and emerging safety hazards, implementation of safety protocols and installation of AC system and improved ventilation within the laundry. The recommendations of this study need to be acted upon by the hospital management and policy makers in health in other facilities.