Ann Pulmonary Respir Med | Volume 1, Issue 1 | Review Article | Open Access

Respiratory Symptoms, Ventilatory Function and Health Related Quality of Life of Arc Welders in South West Nigeria

Kolawole Tolutope Fasanmi*

Department of Medicine, Federal Teaching hospital, Ekiti State, Nigeria

*Correspondance to: Kolawole Tolutope Fasanmi 

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Introduction: Electric welding was introduced in about 1940 and the use of welding has increased in recent years, chiefly in the form of fusion welding. It is estimated that more than 1 million workers worldwide perform some types of welding as parts of their work duties. Though, there are about 60 different methods of welding, gas and arc welding are the types commonly practiced in the developing countries. Isah reported that the commonest type of welding in Benin City, Nigeria is the gas and electric arc welding. Other forms of welding include carbon arc welding, cold welding, flux core arc welding, gas welding, gas tungsten arc welding and laser beam welding, plasma arc welding and oxyacetylene welding. Welding is the process in which metal or other thermoplastic are joined together by the application of heat or pressure, or both with or without the use of filler metal. In arc-welding, heat is generated by striking an arc between an electrode and the base metal. The temperature is about 4000ºC when the pieces fuse together. Many arc welding processes are automatic or semi-automatic, but it is also carried out manually, the process is known as manual metal arc or open arc welding. Most conventional arc-welding is done manually by means of a covered (water) consumable electrode held in an electrode holder. These processes lead to the generation of fumes or particles which are dangerous especially to the respiratory system if inhaled. The particles in these fumes are generally so small that they can reach the narrowest branches of the respiratory organs. Opinions about the respiratory effects of welding differ. Respiratory effects seen in welders have included chronic bronchitis, asthma and possible increase in lung cancers. Pulmonary infections are increased in term of severity, duration and frequency among welders. Reports have shown that pulmonary functions in the welders were found significantly altered with increasing length of exposure. Increasingly, it has been recognized that health status, especially HRQL is an important outcome of medical care. The degree to which health impacts on a person’s ability to perform and derive fulfillment from activities of daily life based on the self-determined evaluation of satisfaction is referred to as HRQL. Chronic exposure to welding fumes and its attendant sequalae has a detrimental effect on the HRQL of affected welders. Though, the severity of disease is an important determinant of the individual health, individual perception and adaptation largely defines the overall Quality of Life. Moreover, since pulmonary function is chronically and irreversibly impaired in this group of workers, treatment should not be directed only towards improving the pulmonary function. In addition, because of the observation that symptom burden is more closely related to HRQL than to FEV1, increasing attention is now being given to HRQL as an important outcome of medical care. However, HRQL measures do not substitute for physiologic parameter, but can complement these by including aspects of health and disease that are directly perceived by the individual. In Nigeria, there are few studies on respiratory symptoms and ventilator patterns in welders. Erhabor reported that the most frequent symptom among welders is cough compared with the controls and were also found to have significantly lower lung function parameters than controls. Few other studies were limited by inability to do chest radiograph. However, there are no indexed studies detailing or assessing the HRQL of arc-welders in Nigeria, necessitating the need for this study. Rationale for Study: The International Labor Organization (ILO) has estimated that over 2 million people die every year from work related accidents and diseases and that over 300 million non-fatal accidents are recorded each year. This translates into more than 6,000 deaths and over 800,000 nonfatal accidents every day. In addition, ILO estimates that more than 160 million people suffer fromoccupational and work related diseases. In many developing countries such as Nigeria, statistics on occupational health hazards especially those with respiratory sequalae are limited. Occupational deaths and injuries take a heavy toll among the poor and least protected. Furthermore, literature has shown that welders in SSEs are least aware of health effects emanating from the activities and materials in their work environment. In Nigeria, there is an information gap on welding occupational hazards as well as prevalence of both acute and chronic respiratory diseases among welders. Such information is vital in understanding the extent of the problem and may be useful when designing intervention strategies targeted at promoting and upholding good health and safety standards in this important working group- hence the study. Aims and Objectives: To determine the respiratory symptoms, ventilator function and HealthRelated Quality of Life of Arc-welders. • To describe the pattern of respiratory symptoms in arc-welders. • To assess the pattern of ventilatory function in arc-welders and matched controls. • To assess the Health-Related Quality of Life of arc-welders. • To assess the determinants of Health-Related Quality of Life of arc-welders


Respiratory symptoms; Ventilator function; ILO; Quality of life; Lung cancer


Fasanmi KT. Respiratory Symptoms, Ventilatory Function and Health Related Quality of Life of Arc Welders in South West Nigeria. Ann Pulm Res Med. 2020; 1(1): 1001.

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