Health problems and risk factors prevailing among garment workers in Tirupur, Tamil Nadu

Sreesupria P. Ravichandran, Pankaj B. Shah


Background: Garment workers are susceptible to various health problems by virtue of their workplace and working conditions. The present study was conducted to estimate the prevalence of certain health problems and to assess association between socio demographic factors, occupational factors and certain health problems among garment workers.

Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted among garment industry workers, at Tirupur. Interview was conducted using a structured pretested questionnaire including information on visual problems, hypertension, diabetes, gastrointestinal symptom rating scale, American thoracic society, and division of lung disease –78 adult respiratory questionnaires. Clinical examination was done to assess body mass index and blood pressure was recorded. Visual acuity for distant and near vision was tested. Haemoglobin estimation was performed. Data entry and analysis was done using SPSS version 15 software. Chi-square test was used as a test of significance.

Results: In this study, 87.4% of the workers reported any one health problem. The common problems reported were musculoskeletal problems (77.6%) followed by anaemia (57%), visual problems (51.6%), symptoms of respiratory problems (31.3%), hypertension (12.9%), diabetes (6.6%) and obesity (2.1%). 49.7% of the workers had any one symptoms of gastrointestinal problems in the last 7 days. The study has shown a possibility of older age, sewing work, sitting posture, and increased work experience as potential risk factors in the development of various health problems.

Conclusions: Garment workers probably need long term on site awareness programs, continuous motivation and health education to prevent and treat these problems at an earlier stage.



Garment workers, Gastrointestinal problems, Respiratory problems, Anaemia, Hypertension, Risk factors

Full Text:



Rosenstock L, Cullen M, Fingerhut M. Occupational Health. In: Jamison DT, Breman JG, Measham AR, editors. Disease Control Priorities in developing Countries. Washington (DC): World Bank; 2006: 1127-1145.

Arumugam B, Kalaichelvi R, Paul CM, Duttagupta KK. Occupational morbidity in a garment manufacturing industry in Chennai. Indian J Public Health. 2009;53(4):268.

Svedlund J, Sjodin I, Dotevall G. GSRS - A clinical rating scale for gastrointestinal symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome and peptic ulcer disease. J Digestive Dis Sci. 1988;33(2):129-34.

Revicki DA, Wood M, Wiklund I, Crawley J. Reliability and validity of the gastrointestinal symptom rating scale in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease. Qual Life Res. 1998;7(1):75-83.

Reprinted with permission of American Thoracic Society, Copyright @ 2012, and American Thoracic Society. Cite: Benjamin G. Ferris/1978/ Epidemiology standardization project, Recommended respiratory disease questionnaires for use with adults and children in epidemiological research/ American review of respiratory diseases/118(6)/pt 2: 1-120.

The Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute August 2004. Available at: Accessed on 01 October 2012.

Jogi R. Textbook of Basic ophthalmology. 4th edition. New Delhi: Jaypee; 2009: 35-40.

Park K. Textbook of Preventive and Social Medicine. 24th edition. Pune: Banarsidas Bhanot; 2013: 661.

Sreesupria PR, Pankaj B Shah, Kannan L, Abinayaa PR. Musculoskeletal problems among workers in a garment industry, at Tirupur, Tamil Nadu. Indian J Comm Health. 2016;28(3):269-74.

James PA, Oparil S, Carter BL, Cushman WC, Dennison-Himmelfarb C, Handler J, et al. 2014 Evidence-Based Guideline for the Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults Report from the Panel Members Appointed to the Eighth Joint National Committee (JNC 8). J Am Med Association. 2014;311(5):507-20.

Saha TK, Dasgupta A, Butt A, et al. Health status of workers engaged in the small scale garment industry: How healthy are they? Indian J Community Med. 2010;35(1):179-82.

Thomas S. A Study on the Health Problems of Women Working in a Textile Unit in Coimbatore. Int J Sci Technol. 2011;1(5):200-3.

Mehta R. Major Health Risk Factors prevailing in Garment Manufacturing Units of Jaipur. J Ergonomics. 2012;2(2):1–3

Begum F, Ali RN, Hossain MA, Shahid SB. Harassment of female garment workers in Bangladesh. J Bangladesh Agricultural University. 2010;8(2):291-6.

Mridula SM. A study report on working conditions and reproductive health status of Female garment workers of Bangladesh. Bangladesh Occupational Safety, Health and Environment Foundation (OSHE) 2009. Available at: http://www.amrc. Accessed on 2 February 2018.

Altin. R, Ozturk S. Prevalence of byssinosis and respiratory symptoms among Cotton Mill Workers. Journal of Respiration. 2002;69:52-6.

Yerpude PN. Morbidity profile of cotton mill workers. Indian J Occupational Environ Med. 2010;14(3):94-6.

Joseph B, Kiran PR. A stitch in time... annual health appraisal of garment industry employees. Pakistan J Med Sci. 2008;24(1):104 -8.

Ganyarut MW. Working environment and respiratory problems among employees in 2 garment factories in Ubon Ratchathani province. Chulialongkorn University 2010. Available at: Accessed on 2 February 2018.