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Work-time Behavioral Risk Factors among Slaughterhouse Workers in Mina during Hajj, 1427 Hijra.


A large number of animals are sacrificed during Hajj season within three days in Mina i.e. from 10th to 12th Dhul Hajja in accordance with religious instructions. Performing this kind of work within a few days needs an extensive setup and large number of slaughterhouse workers. No doubt, that heavy workload compounded with poor safety practices and with unhygienic behavior often creates a high risk of diseases transmission from infected animals to the workers. The study tried to identify the main work-time behavioral risk factors among the current batch of slaughterhouse workers and association of these factors with prevalence of injuries among them, while inspecting their hands for skin lesions existence.


We conducted a cross-sectional study during Hajj 1427 Hijra in Mina among butchers by interviewing them, observing some of their practices and lesions on exposed parts of hands. A total sample of 300 workers were chosen randomly from main five slaughterhouses in Mina.


Valid health certificates that the majority of the workers included in the study i.e. 253 (84.3%) claimed that they have, were not available to be examined at time of interview, and another 46 (15.3%) of them did not have a valid health certificate. Among the workers 70.7% did not receive any information about safety measures before starting the work in these slaughterhouses. Risky behavior that may cause direct injury or facilitate transmission of infection such as putting the knife in the mouth during the work-time and limitation on use of protective measures were observed. Significant differences between functional groups of the workers in prevalence of cutting injuries that are associated with some behavioral risk factors have been found. Prevalence of cutting injuries among cow handlers (32%) was significantly higher than that among camel handlers (28.1%) or among goats/sheep (8.1%) handlers (p = 0.00006). By type of used shoes, prevalence of injuries was higher among sandal/slippers user (21.1%) than that among long shoes users (9.8%) and then that among normal shoe users (6.1%) (p = 0.006), and by method of compensation a higher prevalence of injury (22.1%) occurred among those who were compensated per unit (animal) than that among those who were compensated by lump sum for the whole season (5.3%) and higher than that among those who were compensated on daily basis (16.2%). A statistically significant association between prevalence of cutting injury and type of compensation was found (P = 0.001). Regarding sharp instrument use (knife), despite different prevalence of cutting injuries among groups of knife users (15.0%) and group of meat handlers, but without knife use (8.7%) and among workers who did not use knife and did not deal with meat (11.4%), no significant difference between them was found (p = 0.39). In hands and forearms of the slaughterhouse workers 19% cases of old scar, 3.7% open sore, 5% dermatitis, 4% warts, 0.3% nail fungal infection and 0.3% blister cases were observed.


Absence of a valid heath certificate, poor information about available safety measures in slaughterhouses compounded with heavy workload represented an environmental work problem. Limitation of protective measures use with behavioral risk practice and existence of skin lesion on exposed part of hands may expose butchers to different types of injuries and facilitate disease transmission from infected animal to slaughterhouse workers.