Levels of Awareness on Safety and Health in Use of Agro-Chemicals among Large Scale Flower Farm Workers in Uasin Gishu County. Kenya

Eunice J. Saina, Kennedy N. Odimu, Amos M. Otara


Flower farms play an important role in the horticulture industry which contributes about 10% of agricultural produce in Kenya. They create employment, earn foreign exchange through exports and improve infrastructure in the world. Despite these achievements agro-chemicals used in these farms to increase production pose a great danger to the health of the farm workers and the surrounding environment. The broad objective of this study sought to reduce the health impact of unsafe handling of agro-chemicals by assessing compliance with legal requirements by large scale flower farm workers in Uasin Gishu County. This study was guided by the following objectives, to assess knowledge, attitude safe handling and disposal of agro-chemicals as well as assess frequencies of self-reported health symptoms related to pesticide exposure among large scale private farm workers. The study employed cross sectional survey design, purposive sampling was used to get the sample from four large scale flower farms in Uasin Gishu County. Data was collected by administering questionnaires and analyzed using SPSS version 20 using descriptive and inferential statistics (percentages means and medians). The study findings have revealed that some of the agro-chemicals used are acephate, tetradifon, aldicarb and piperophos. Though majority of the respondents have participated in training courses related to the safe handling, a significant percentage of the respondents do not safe practice to reduce pesticide exposure. Despite this, the respondents were aware of other ways of pest control such as fostering beneficial organisms and disrupting pest’s life cycle. The results indicate that agro-chemicals can have negative impacts on health. Therefore, both men and women should put on personal protective devices and ensure proper storage, handling and disposal of agro-chemicals. Workers that handled agro-chemicals had symptoms of skin rash, itch, running nose, burns, eye itching, excessive sweating, chest pains and pregnancy complications. Workers should undergo training on safe handling of agro-chemicals so that they can read and understand the information written on agro-chemicals; undergo medical checkups before and during work periods and have a positive attitude towards safe handling of agro-chemicals. There is also need for effective diagnosis and treatment of the symptoms brought by agro-chemicals in order to reduce fatality of acute poisoning.

Keywords: Agro-chemicals, awareness, safe-handling, attitude, health and safety, Uasin Gishu county- Kenya.

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5766 ISSN (Online)2225-0484

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