Korean J Prev Med. 1997; 30(2): 392-401.
Comparisons on the worker's health status and working environment between small and large industries in Kyeungin industrial complex.
Generally working environment and worker's health status of small scale industries(SSI) which employ less than 50 workers are known to be poorer than those of large scale industries(LSI) which employ more than 500 workers. However, according to the analysis of occupational injuries in Korea, prevalence rate of occupational injuries of SSI was 3.1 times as high as LSI. But there was no difference in prevalence rate of occupational disease and workers with suspected occupational disease(D1) between SSI and LSI. To confirm these two different facts, we surveyed working environment and worker's health status of SSI and LSI in Kyeungin industrial complex. Workers in SSI were 10,878 and workers in LSI were 8,291 and number of hazardous agents in SSI were 3,554 and those of LSI were 1,916. We found following results. First, proportion of male workers and workers who were less than 30 years old and more than 50 years old was higher in SSI compared to LSI. Second, worker in SSI had more liver disease, viral hepatitis, and pneumoconiosis than in LSI, and there were more worker with suspected occupational disease, general disease, and worker needed close observation in SSI. But these effects had not statistical significance under the condition controlled by age and sex with logistic regression. Third, the numbers measured for specific chemicals, organic solvents, and heavy metals in SSI was more than in LSI. However there was on difference in the excess rate of each hazardous agent between SSI and LSI. As the above results workers' health status in SSI was poorer than in LSI, but these results were mainly due to the population structure difference. Although there were some limitation of this study and problems of sensitivity and validity for periodic health examination and working environment evaluation method, the concept that working environment and worker's health status in SSI should be reviewed. In future the study that will reveal the real weak point of SSI should be performed.
worker's health;working environment;small scale industry