Child labor in Ghana cocoa production: Focus upon agricultural tasks, ergonomic exposures, and associated injuries and illnesses

L. Diane Mull, Steven R. Kirkhorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectives. The goal of this study was to determine the occupational hazards experienced by children harvesting cocoa in western Ghana in order to design a vocational literacy life skills curriculum and radio social messaging campaign with a safety component to decrease hazardous work exposures in child agricultural work. Methods. An observational analysis was conducted of children aged 9 through 17 based upon personal interviews of agricultural workers, focus groups, and direct observation of work practices and activities. Job site analysis incorporated task mapping, job hazard review, and a review of equipment and use of protective gear. Results. Children and young people aged 9 through 17 are exposed to hazardous occupational exposures including strenuous work, sharp tools, and pesticides. Lack of training in proper safety practices and inadequate personal protective equipment were commonly noted. Injuries and illnesses included musculoskeletal disorders, sprains, strains, lacerations to the head, fractures, eye injuries, rashes, and coughing. Conclusion. Children working in cocoa harvesting are exposed to physical and chemical hazards without proper training or personal protective equipment. Unless safety interventions occur, there are potential long-term adverse health consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)649-656
Number of pages8
JournalPublic health reports
Volume120
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2005

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