OBJECTIVE: To identify and summarize occupational hazards among oil palm plantation workers.
METHODS: A search was carried out in June 2018 in PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, and Ovid. Relevant publications were identified by a systematic search of four databases and relevant journals. Publications were included if they examined occupational hazards in oil palm plantation workers.
RESULTS: 941 publications were identified; of these, 25 studies were found eligible to be included in the final review. Of the 25 studies examined, 19 were conducted in Malaysia, 2 in Costa Rica, and one each in Ghana, Indonesia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, and Cameroon. Oil palm plantation workers were found to be at risk of musculoskeletal conditions, injuries, psychosocial disorders, and infectious diseases such as malaria and leptospirosis. In addition, they have potential exposure to paraquat and other pesticides.
CONCLUSION: In light of the potential of palm oil for use as a biofuel, this is an industry with strong growth potential. The workers are exposed to various occupational hazards. Further research and interventions are necessary to improve the working conditions of this already vast and growing workforce.