Brief Note on Occupational Health

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Occupational Health


Occupational health is the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental and social well-being of workers in all occupations by preventing departures from health, controlling risks and the adaptation of work to people, and people to their jobs. (ILO/WHO, 1950).

Occupational health deals with all aspects of health and safety in the workplace and has a strong focus on primary prevention of hazards, including risk factors at the workplace leading to cancers, accidents, musculoskeletal diseases, respiratory diseases, hearing loss, circulatory diseases, stress, related disorders and communicable diseases and others.

Occupational health refers to the identification and control of the risks arising from physical, chemical, and other workplace hazards in order to establish and maintain a safe and healthy working environment.

Occupational Hazards

The interaction between man and occupational environment may be hazardous to the individuals. And
these occupational hazards are:

• Physical hazards – Due to heat, cold, light, electricity, vibration, UV rays and ionizing radiation.
• Chemical hazards – Due to inorganic and organic dusts, gases and metals.
• Biological hazards – Due to infective and parasitic agents.
• Mechanical hazards – Due to accidents.
• Psychosocial hazards – Due to new environment, insecurity, stress and poor human relations.

Occupational Disease

An occupational disease is a disease or disorder that is caused by the work or working conditions. This means that the disease must have developed due to exposures in the work place. They are: (ILO list of occupational diseases revised, 2010):

• Occupational diseases caused by exposure to agents arising from work activities:
– Diseases caused by chemical agents
– Diseases caused by physical agents
– Biological agents and infectious or parasitic diseases
• Occupational diseases by target organ systems:
– Respiratory diseases
– Skin diseases
– Musculoskeletal disorders
– Mental and behavioural disorders
• Occupational cancer
• Other diseases

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