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Occupational Health

Last updated: November 10, 2021

What Does Occupational Health Mean?

Occupational health is a field of healthcare that is concered with the relation between work and health. It aims ot protect and improve the health and welfare of employees in their respective workplaces.

Occupational health is typically lumped in with occupational safety under the umbrella of occupational health and safety (OHS) and governed by the same regulatory bodies, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Safeopedia Explains Occupational Health

Occupational health encompasses workplace practices, exposure issues, and standards aimed at minimizing adverse health effects for workers.

It covers a range of hazards, from the spread of infectious diseases to the risks associated with smoke inhalation.

An occupational health program will protect workers not only from acute health hazards, such as the sudden effects of chemical exposure, as well as chronic health effects that result from repeat exposure. In fact, employers must also concern themselves with health hazards whose effects will only show up in the long run, even long after the employee has ceased working for them. This includes occupational cancers, such as mesothelioma from exposure to asbestos.

The World Health Organization's Definition of Occupational Health

The WHO defines occupational health as follows:

“Occupational health deals with all aspects of health and safety in the workplace and has a strong focus on primary prevention of hazards. The health of the workers has several determinants, 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.”

Objectives of Occupational Health

  • Protecting the health of workers by controlling occupational diseases and exposures
  • Eliminating occupational factors and conditions that can prove hazardous to the health of workers
  • Developing and promoting healthy work environments

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