Occupational Hazards Among Health Care Workers in Nigeria

How to Cite

asaolu, S., & Abiona Modupe Mary. (2023). Occupational Hazards Among Health Care Workers in Nigeria. African Journal of Biomedical Research, 26(3), 319–326. https://doi.org/10.4314/ajbr.v26i3.3


Healthcare workers play a vital role in society by providing essential medical care and services. However, their occupational environment exposes them to a diverse range of hazards that can influence their health and well-being. This review aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the occupational hazards faced by healthcare workers and the associated risks, focusing on healthcare settings such as hospitals, clinics, and laboratories. The study synthesizes existing literature on various types of hazards that healthcare workers encounter. These hazards include biological risks, such as exposure to infectious agents like viruses, bacteria, and fungi; chemical exposures from hazardous drugs, disinfectants, and sterilizing agents; physical hazards like ergonomic strain, needle stick injuries, and radiation exposure; and psychosocial hazards including stress, burnout, and workplace violence. In addition to identifying the factors that predispose the workers to these hazards, implementation of proper measures, use of personal protective equipment, ergonomic improvements, comprehensive training programs, and mental health support initiatives are discussed as vital steps in preventing the well-being of healthcare workers. The findings in this review emphasize the need for comprehensive interventions, including improved training programs, implementation of safety protocols, the provision of adequate personal protective equipment, and enhanced support systems. As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve in Nigeria, understanding and addressing occupational hazards is vital for ensuring the health and safety of healthcare workers, which can be achieved by raising awareness about the multifaceted challenges faced by healthcare professionals.





Achalu, E. I. (2000). Occupational Health and Safety. American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal. 20(2):100-105

Adebayo, A.M., and Asuzu, M. C. (2017). Occupational hazards among health care workers in Nigeria: A systematic review. Annals of Nigerian Medicine. 11(2):58–64.

Afolabi, M.O., Ige, O.K., and Idowu, A.A. (2019). Occupational hazards and safety practices among health care workers in a Nigerian hospital. Journal of Community Health. 44(4)689–69.

Ahasan, M.V.R and Partanen, T. (2007). Occupational health and safety in the least developed countries- a simple case of neglect. Journal of Epidemiology. 11:74–80.

Akinbodewa A. (2023). Assessment of Occupational Health Safety and Hazard among Government Health Workers in Ondo City, Southwest Nigeria https://www.academia.edu/34803233/Assessment_of_Occupational_Health_Safety_and_Hazard_among_Government_Health_Workers_in_Ondo_City_Southwest_Nigeria. Accessed 10 June

Akpuh, N., Ajayi, I.O., Adebowale, A., Idris S.H., Nguku, P., Dalhat, M., and Adedire, E. (2020). Occupational exposure to HIV among healthcare workers in PMTCT sites in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. BMC Public Health. 20(1):1–8. https://doi.org/10.1186/S12889-020-08528-5/tables/3

America, I.M, Kohn, L.T., Corrigan, J.M., and Donaldson, M.S. (2000). Creating Safety Systems in Health Care Organizations. BMC Public Health. 22(1):1–8.

Amosu, A.M., Degun, A.M., Atulomah, N.O.S., Olanrewju, M.F., and Aderibigbe, K.A. (2011). The Level of Knowledge Regarding Occupational Hazards among Nurses in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria. Current Research Journal of Biological Sciences. 3(6):586–590. https://doi.org/10.5297/Ser.1201.002.

Amosun, A.M., Degun, AM., Atulomah. N.O.S., Olanrewaju. M.E. and Aderigbe. K.A. (2011). Level of knowledge regarding occupational hazards among nurses in Abeokuta. Ogun State. Nigeria. Current Research Journal of Biological Science. 3(6):556–590.

Amadi, A.N. (2011). ABC of environmental health. Readon Publishers.

Anyanwu, G.E., & Iwu, A.C. (2018). Occupational hazards and safety practices among health care workers in Enugu, Nigeria. Journal of Public Health and Epidemiology. 10(4):147–155.

Raymond, A. (2005). Occupational health for health care workers. Occupational, Environmental Medicine, University of Manchester U K England.

Azodo, C.C., Ezeja, E.B. and Mary E. (2011). Occupational violence against dental professionals in Sothern Nigeria. Africa Health Science. 11:486–492.

Bekele, T., Gebremariam, A., Kaso, M., and Ahmed, K. (2015). Factors Associated with Occupational Needle Stick and Sharps Injuries among Hospital Healthcare Workers in Bale Zone, Southeast Ethiopia. PLOS ONE:10(10):14-38. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0140382

Beyera, G.K., and Beyen, T.K. (2014). Epidemiology of exposure to HIV/AIDS risky conditions in healthcare settings: the case of health facilities in Gondar City, North West Ethiopia. BMC Public Health. 14(1):40-44. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-14-1283

Bienassis K, Slawomirski L.K.N. (2021). The economics of patient safety Part IV: Safety in the workplace: Occupational safety as the bedrock of resilient health systems, OECD Health Working Papers, No. 130. [Internet]. Paris: OECD Publishing; 2021. Available from: Https://Econpapers.Repec.Org/RePEc:Oec:Elsaad:130-En.

Bolarinwa, O. A. (2011). Needle Stick Injury Pattern Among Health Workers In Primary Health Care Facilities In Ilorin, Nigeria Health Related Quality Of Life Of Hypertensive And Diabetic Patients In Nigeria View Project. Https://Www.Researchgate.Net/Publication/291790541. Accessed 15 June

Centers of Disease Control (2017). Health Care Workers Workplace Safety. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/health care default. Accessed 9 July

Centers for Disease Control (CDC). (1989). Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission in a health clinic--Florida, 1988. MMWR. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 38(15):256–258, 263–264. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2495425

Centre for disease control (2020a). Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Training. https://ncdc.gov.ng/news/202/ncdc-trains-over-3000-health-workers-on-infection-prevention-and-control. Accessed 11 July.

Centre for disease control (2020b). Occupational Health Surveillance. https://ncdc.gov.ng/themes/common/docs/surveillance/38_1600855455.pdf. Accessed 10 July

Crutcher, J.M., Lamm, S.H., and Hall T.A. (1991). Procedures to protect health-care workers from HIV infection: category I (health-care) workers. American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal. 52(2):100-103. https://doi.org/10.1080/15298669191364370

Idowu, K.L. (2018). National Industrial Safety Policy for Nigeria. http://www.nigeria.gov.ng/images/docs/policies/industrial_safety_policy.pdf

Eze, B. I., Okoye, O., and Maduka-Okafor, F.C. (2014). Occupational hazards among health care workers in Nigeria. Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice. 17(6):726–730.

Ganiyu, S., Muhammad, I., Olabode, J., and Stanley, M. (2015). Patterns of occurrence of work-related musculoskeletal disorders and its correlation with ergonomic hazards among health care professionals. Nigerian Journal of Experimental and Clinical Biosciences. 3(1):18. https://doi.org/10.4103/2348-0149.158153

Ghosh, T. (2013). Occupational Health and Hazard among Health care workers. International Journal of Operational Safety and Health. 3(1):1–4.

Guilbert, J.J. (2003). The world health report 2002 - reducing risks, promoting healthy life. Education for Health Abingdon England. 16(2):230-234. https://doi.org/10.1080/1357628031000116808

Toke F.M. (2017). National Guidelines on Infection Prevention and Control in Healthcare Facilities. https://ncdc.gov.ng/themes/common/docs/protocols/58_1512021409.pdf

Ilesanmi, O. S., & Alebiosu, C. O. (2015). Occupational hazards among health care workers in a Nigerian teaching hospital. Annals of African Medicine. 14(1):39–45.

Innocent, D.C., Emerole, C.O., Ezejindu, C.N., Dozie, U.W., Obani, S.I., Uwandu-Uzoma, A.C., Nwaokoro, C.J., Udeh, M.U., Eneh, S.C., Uwaezuoke, A.C., Iwuji, K.M., Udoewah, S.A., Uzowuihe, P.N., Maduekwe, V.C., Emerole, C.O., Ezejindu, C.N., Dozie, U.W., and Obani, S.I. (2022b). Examination of Common Occupational Hazards among Healthcare Workers in a University Healthcare Center in Southeastern Nigeria. Health. 14(8):833–852. https://doi.org/10.4236/Health.

Isara, A., Oguzie, K., and Okpogoro, O. (2015). Prevalence of needlestick injuries among healthcare workers in the Accident and Emergency Department of a Teaching Hospital in Nigeria. Annals of Medical and Health Sciences Research. 5(6):392. https://doi.org/10.4103/2141-9248.177973.

Joseph, L.D. (2014). Current Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 5th (Edn.). Mc Grew Hill Education.

Park, K. (2009). Park‘s text book of preventive and social medicine. M/S Banarsidas Bhanot. 34:69-74.

Lambert, V.A. and Lambert, C.E. (2008). Nurses workplace stressors and coping strategies. India Journal of Palliative Care. 114(11):45-50.

McDiarmid, M.A. (2014). Hazards of the health care sector: looking beyond infectious disease. Annals of Global Health, 80(4):315–319. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.Aogh.2014.08.001.

Molinari, J.A. (2003). Infection control. The Journal of the American Dental Association. 134(5):569–574. https://doi.org/10.14219/jada.archive.2003.0222

Moore, R.M., and Kaczmarek, R.G. (1990). Occupational hazards to health care workers: Diverse, ill-defined, and not fully appreciated. American Journal of Infection Control. 18(5):316–327. https://doi.org/10.1016/0196-6553.

Ndejjo, R., Musinguzi, C., Musoke, D. and Wang, J.S. (2015). Occupational Health Hazard among Care Workers in Kampala Uganda. Journal of Environmental and Public Health. 20:32-40

Ndejjo, R., Musinguzi, G., Yu, X., Buregyeya, E., Musoke, D., Wang, J.S., Halage, A.A., Whalen, C., Bazeyo, W., Williams, P., and Ssempebwa, J. (2015). Occupational Health Hazards among Healthcare Workers in Kampala, Uganda. Journal of Environmental and Public Health. 20:10-15. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/913741.

Nsubuga, F.M., and Jaakkola, M.S. (2005). Needle stick injuries among nurses in sub-Saharan Africa. Tropical Medicine and International Health. 10(8):773–781. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-3156.2005.01453.

Okeafor, C.U., and Alamina, F.E. (2018). A Qualitative Study on Psychosocial Hazards among Health Care Workers in a Tertiary Health Facility in South-South Nigeria. Annals of Ibadan Postgraduate Medicine. 16(1):23–29. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30254555%0Ahttp://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=Pmc6143885

Oleribe, O.O., Ezieme, I. P., Oladipo, O., Akinola, E. P., Udofia, D., Taylor-Robinson, S. D., and Harry, T. O. (2014). Occupational Hazards and Health Problems among Healthcare Workers in Nigeria. The African Health Monitor.17:20–23. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281936689_Occupational_Hazards_and_Health_Problems_among_Healthcare_Workers_in_Nigeria.

Orji, E.O., Fasubaa, O.B., Onwudiegwu, U., Dare, F.O., and Ogunniyi, S.O. (2009). Occupational health hazards among health care workers in an obstetrics and gynecology unit of a Nigerian teaching hospital. Https://Doi.Org/10.1080/01443610120101781. 22(1):75–78. https://doi.org/10.1080/01443610120101781.

Orji. E.O., Fasuba, O.B., Onwudiegwu U., Dare, P.O. and Ogunniyi, S. O. (2002). Occupational Hazard among Health Care Workers in an Obstetrics and Gynecology Unit of Nigerian Teaching Hospital. Journal of Obstetric Gynecology. 22(1):5–8.

Osazuwa-Peters, N., Azodo, C. C., and Obuekwe, O. N. (2012). Occupational health issues of oral health care workers in Edo State, Nigeria. International Dental Journal. 62 :117–121. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1875-595X.2011.00101.

Owie, H.O. and Apanga. P.A. (2016). Occupational Health Hazards Prevailing Among Health Care Workers in Developing Countries. Journal of AIDS’ and Clinical Research. 30:35-50

Oyedepo AO, Adesina KO, Alao M O and Oyebode F O. (2005). Perceived Occupational Health Hazards Among Health Care Workers in Government Hospitals in Ondo State, Nigeria. https://www.seahipaj.org. Accessed 20 June

Occupational Exposure of Nurses to Harzards in Workplace in Cross River State, Nigeria. (2009). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/301298664_Occupational_Exposure_of_Nurses_to_Harzards_in_Workplace_in_Cross_River_State. Accessed 20 July

Rapiti, E., Prüss, A., Yvan, U., Series, H., Prüss-Üstün, A., Campbell-Lendrum, D., Corvalán, C., & Woodward, A. (2005). Journal of Obstetric Gynecology. 22(1):5–8.

Lee, R. (2009). Occupational transmission of blood borne diseases to health care workers in developing countries: Meeting the challenges. Journal of Hospital Infection. 72:285–296.

Rosenstock L, Cullen M.R, Brodkin C.A. (2005a). Textbook of Clinical Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 2nd (Edn.). Elsevier Inch. 21:78-81

Ruotsalamen. J.H., Verbeek. J.H. Marine, A. and Serra, C. (2014). Prevention occupational stress in healthcare workers, Coch Rane Data Base System Review. Cochiane Occupational Safety and Healthy Group, Cochaine Collaboration. https://doi.org/12 (12cd002892).

Segun, H.Y (2007) Occupational health hazards among health care workers in an obstetrics and gynecology unit of a Nigerian teaching hospital. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 22(1):75–78 | 10.1080/01443610120101781.

The Lancet. (2020). COVID-19: protecting health-care workers. Lancet (London, England), 395(10228):922. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30644-9

Tinubu, B.M., Mbada, C.E., Oyeyemi, A.L., and Fabunmi, A.A. (2010). Work-related musculoskeletal disorders among nurses in Ibadan, South-west Nigeria: A cross-sectional survey. BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. 11(1):1–8. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2474-11-12/Tables/6

Vecchio, D., Sasco, A.J., and Cann, C.I. (2003). Occupational risk in health care and research. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 43(4):369–397. https://doi.org/10.1002/Ajim.10191

Walton, A.L., and Rogers, B. (2017). Workplace Hazards Faced by Nursing Assistants in the United States: A Focused Literature Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 14(5):45-50. https://doi.org/10.3390/IJERPH14050544

WHO. (2009). Health Worker’s Occupational Health. http://www.who.int/occupational health/topic/heworkers/en.wikipedia. Http://En.m.Wikipedia.Org/Wiki/Hazard.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2023 African Journal of Biomedical Research