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Threads of pain – textile workers

Upper East Province, Ghana

These skilled workers produce highly desirable products. But with few safety and health safeguards in place, the women are at risk of musculoskeletal disorders. They also make little money. This must change. We’ve documented current practices and will work with partners to make our recommendations for an improved working environment a reality.

These are based on the risk assessment recommendations for a safer and healthier working life for the textile workers and include both short- and long-term targets. You can download the risk assessment at the bottom of the page.

Provide full ear defence, filing smooth any sharp metal edges or burrs, widening the treadle on the looms, using sack barrows to move equipment, and providing loom seats with back rests. 

Build a work shed and provide welfare facilities to improve working conditions. 

Educate workers on the hazards, how they cause harm and how they can be avoided.

Provide legal advice, investment and sales training to support the development of co-operatives of a sufficient size to sell to the main exporters directly, for the best price. 

“There are days when you wake up and can’t feel your feet. When that happens, it’s impossible to work because you can’t operate the machine.”

Job role

Who is involved

  • International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
  • International Social Security Association (ISSA)
  • Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC)
  • Commonwealth Business Women Africa (CBW-Africa)
  • Government of Ghana
  • Embassy of Germany
  • Rotary Club
  • Shea butter farmers and textile weavers
  • UK High Commission Ghana
  • IOSH consultants
  • Local IOSH members
  1. Local OSH experts and IOSH members have conducted an impartial risk assessment to assess the current conditions.

    • Formed a co-operative, Lana Empire Africa, bringing the women into the formal economy.
    • Lana Empire Africa gained Food and Drug Administration approval for their products, opening new markets with better prices. Shipments are already on the way across Africa and to Europe.
  2. Investors can now see how Lana Empire Africa can supply factory settings and machinery, enabling the co-operative to submit funding applications.

We've included information about what's next for the project below. Keep your eye out for updates, which we'll publish as and when we have them.

  1. Create a website for Lana Empire Africa.

  2. Receive outcome of submissions from investors.

IOSH risk assessment for textile weavers (pdf) (2.442MB) (opens in a new tab)

We welcome your support in helping people stay safe at work. It can change the lives of the most vulnerable workers. Find out more about these projects and the work we are doing.