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Tuesday, 27 September 2016

A survey into process and worker's characteristics in the wood furniture industry in Songkhla Province, southern region of Thailand.

Tuntiseranee P1Chongsuvivatwong V.

  • 1Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Prince of Songkla University, Hat Yai, Songkhla, Thailand.


A cross-sectional survey of the wood furniture industry was conducted in southern Thailand in February 1993. The aim was to examine the manufacturing process, occupational hazards at the workplace, workers' demographic characteristics, period of employment, incidence rate of work related injury and some reproductive history of workers. Altogether 69 managers and 1,000 workers participated in the study. There are 2 main types of wood industry, rubberwood and hardwood. The rubberwood industry is semi-automated with advanced technology, has a female-dominated workforce of 200-300 workers per factory and overseas-market orientation. The hardwood industry is based in small-scale workplaces ranging from 20 to 60 workers, domestic-market orientation and has a male-dominated workforce. Most of the workers were young, single, of low education and were high turnover rate laborforce, with arduous work and long working hours per week. Solvent was the most frequent chemical exposure. The person-year incidence of chemical exposure in female workers was higher than in male workers for every group of chemicals. The incidence of accidents was twice as high as the official rate. The standardized fertility ratio of female wood workers was only 51.6% of that of the Thai female population. There was a high abortion rate among women who became pregnant inside the wood industry compared to that among pregnancies outside the wood factory. Wood industry workers were exposed to occupational hazards and accident-prone work conditions.

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