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A longitudinal study - Morbidity profile among clinical laboratory personnel in a private tertiary care hospital in Bengaluru, South India

Ashwini G S, Bobby Joseph, Ramakrishna Goud B.


Background: Laboratory workers are exposed to various risks and hazards such as physical, chemical, biological, and ergonomic. Workplace safety in the laboratory setting is an important issue. Studies that address the overall morbidity patterns in these personnel are limited; hence, the current study was undertaken.

Objectives: The objectives of the study were to estimate the incidence rate, morbidity profile and the associated factors of acute morbidities among clinical laboratory personnel.

Materials and Methods: A descriptive longitudinal study was undertaken in a private tertiary care hospital over a period of 1 year. Personnel from clinical pathology, biochemistry, microbiology, and blood bank services were included. Data were collected through periodic mobile phone short messaging services and personal interactions, along with sick leave record review.

Results: Of the 132 workers majority were females, ever-married, involved in sample processing and working in clinical pathology, permanent, and experienced workers (>6 years). The incidence rate of acute morbidity was 3.09 episodes per 100 person weeks. By univariate logistic regression analysis, frequency of morbidity was significantly high in older age group, ever-married workers, housekeeping staff, permanent, and experienced workers. However, multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed the frequency to be significantly high in ever married workers (adjusted odds ratio [OR]: 4.3, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.3–14.9) and permanent workers (adjusted OR: 5.3, 95% CI: 1.2–23.2). The most common acute morbidities were upper respiratory tract infection (27.1%) and musculoskeletal pain (20.2 %). Infectious diseases were commonly reported by young and microbiology workers. Musculoskeletal disorders were common among female workers.

Conclusions: Implementation of standard operating procedures, application of the science of ergonomics in laboratory workstations along with behavioral change communication approach may address many of the identified problems among laboratory personnel.

Key words: Clinical Laboratory Personnel; Laboratory Worker; Morbidity Profile; Longitudinal Study; Tertiary Care Hospital

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