Study of occupational health hazards in sawmill workers in central India

Unaiza Azmi, Tanzeem Azmi


Background: Occupational lung diseases are occurring at an increasingly significant level in India and the prevalence is particularly high in sawmill workers. The present study evaluated effects of sawdust on the lung functions of sawmill workers.

Methods: In this prevalence study, 50 sawmill workers and equal number of age-sex matched controls were enrolled. Pulmonary function test parameters of all the participants were recorded by spirometry. Relevant comparisons were drawn between the groups.

Results: Mean FVC of cases was 3.02±0.68 litres and of controls was 3.39±0.56 litres. Mean FEV1 of cases was 2.28±0.79 litres and of controls was 2.76±0.61 litres. Mean FEV1/FVC ratio of cases was 74.22±12.92% and of controls was 80.81±7.83. Mean PEFR of cases was 6.44±1.45 litres/second and of controls was 7.18±1.15 litres/second. Mean FEF 25-75 % of cases was 3.06±0.83 litres/second and of controls 3.53±0.71 litres/second. All the results were statistically significant (p<0.05).

Conclusions: Sawmill workers are more vulnerable to respiratory impairment due to saw-dust exposure in the workplace environment. Efforts are recommended to control the levels of dust to within safe occupational limits.


Lung functions, Occupational health, Sawmill workers, Spirometry, Saw dust

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