Comparative Study on the Respiratory Outcomes among Underground Gold Miners and Non Miners in Orkney, South Africa

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DOI: 10.21522/TIJPH.2013.05.04.Art055

Authors : Olukayode O Alewi, Ebenezer Obi Daniel, Amosu, Ademola M


There is scarce knowledge about respiratory outcomes among underground gold miners in Orkney, South Africa. Due to the occupational exposure to poor ventilation, dust and others underground gold mine workers are vulnerable to respiratory or pulmonary disorders and diseases. There has not been a documented literature in the past to compare the respiratory outcome of gold miners and non-miners in Orkney area of South Africa. This was a cross sectional study designed to investigate and compare respiratory outcomes among gold miners and non-miners.

A comparative cross sectional survey of gold miners and non-miners living in the same geographical location of Orkney, South Africa was carried out using a modified health assessment questionnaire to determine the prevalence of such respiratory disorders among these underground gold miners and comparing the same with the non-miners.

A total of 222 gold miners and 222 non gold miners were surveyed using the questionnaire while trying to match the two groups as closely as possible. Data analysis was done using the Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 20. Paired sample t-test was used to compare the mean differences between the gold miners and the non-gold miners. Statistical level of significance was set at P-value <0.05. Result shows a higher prevalence of respiratory diseases (2.71 times higher) among the underground gold mine workers when compared to the non-miners. With a standard deviation of +-11.46 and +-9.79 respectively.

It was concluded that occupational exposures to respirable dust mainly silicon must have contributed significantly to the observed difference in these two groups. More protective and preventive measures become imperative in controlling this outcome. Employers of gold miners should therefore take more appropriate health preventive measures aimed at reducing significantly the exposure rate and amount to respirable dust among the miners.

Keywords: Respiratory, disorders, exposure, underground.


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