Occupational care is the health care system 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 care deals with all aspects of health and safety in the workplace.
The health of the workers has several determinants, including risk factors at the workplace which may lead to cancers, accidents, musculoskeletal diseases, respiratory diseases, hearing loss, circulatory diseases, stress related disorders and communicable diseases and many others.
Goal of occupational health care:
There are different WHO programs and activities working on occupational care. The main goal is to promote occupational safety and health of employees and to promote working capacity and to provide highest degree of physical, mental, and social well-being to workers.
There are also occupational care act which obliges the employer to provide occupational health care services to the staff which divides into statutory preventive occupational health care and voluntary supplementary occupational health care.
Preventive occupational health care includes;
- Workplace survey designed to identify the effects of the work, workplace and work environment on health and working capacity
- Physical examinations based on health risks
- Participating in activities that promote working capacity
- Guidance for workplace emergency preparedness
- Monitoring of employee health, rehabilitation counseling and referral to rehabilitation when working capacity declines.
Statutory occupational health care is based on the exposure agents and stress factors which may found in the workplace survey. It is also based on workplace risk assessment as well as on particular risk of illness in the workplace.
Statutory health examination can be done due to following reasons:
- Health risk caused by work, such as noise, some chemicals or stressing work, e.g. working at night
- Health requirement related to work, such as color vision, healthy skin
- Safety aspects in special sectors, such as transport work, work on masts.
Occupational physicians assess or appraise the interaction between work and health. They are responsible for employee health and they must advise on fitness, workplace safety, prevention of occupational injuries, and disease. Diagnose and treat occupational diseases and handle injuries are also their responsibilities.
An occupational physician visits work place in order to better understand the problem and to provide better occupational care. An occupational physician deal with issues including:
- work-related stress
- diseases caused by asbestos
- noise-induced hearing loss
- work-related back pain
- problems caused by exposure to chemicals and vibration
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