The area of public health that examines patterns in illnesses and accidents in the working population and proposes and implements policies and regulations to avoid them is occupational health and safety. Its breadth is broad, covering a broad range of disciplines, from toxicology and epidemiology to ergonomics and prevention of abuse.
Most of us spend a large part of our lives at work. In 2011, 65% of the workforce worked year-round and full-time. In environmental health and occupational health and safety, public health research, policy and law categorizations have long been established. Ecological and occupational health, even much more than fields such as the prevention of communicable diseases or hygiene, warn us that a world’s health is profoundly affected by its environmental economy and economic development.
In the general population and workplaces, factory employees are at dual risk of exposure. Changing risks in the general population can impact industrial worker morbidity patterns and health priorities. Likewise, changes in work environment determinants can affect employee increased mortality trends and health goals. This is in the greatest advantage of employers and employees that the industry’s health programs and facilities are aware of these planned trends and are identified at the utmost by active monitoring systems.
Today, the problems researched and controlled by specialists in occupational health and safety differ widely by occupation. For instance, physical hazards such as higher elevations and power tools may be of greater importance to construction workers, whereas mental well-being and repetitive stress injuries may be the focus of occupational environments. Even so there are a range of safety and health issues in the American workforce where more work can be done, despite significant changes to workplace standards.
Safe and stable workplaces are sometimes taken for granted. Yet the safety-conscious factory floors and well-lit workplaces of today are a relatively recent creation of industrial society, a direct product of efforts made by those who work in the area of occupational health and safety.
In terms of historically dangerous industries such as manufacturing, deep-sea fishing, or logging, many individuals envisage occupational safety primarily. Indeed, some of the highest fatal injury figures for employees are faced by these industries. Non-fatal accidents and diseases, however, tell a dramatically different storey.
If it is difficult to differentiate industrial public health from economics, neither can it really be understood at international, national and local levels, apart from governance conditions. International policies and initiatives, including the National Development Plan and the National Sustainable Development Goals set out in international protocols beginning with the Kyoto Treaty, are forms of global governance in which public health and industrial health and public health ethics play an essential part.
A necessary prerequisite for household income, efficiency and economic growth is the wellbeing of workers. The rehabilitation and maintenance of operating capability is also an essential feature of health care facilities.
Worker welfare was among the core issues of the social reform movement to improve public health in the late 19th century. Today, few state health departments have robust programmes for occupational health. However, state departments of public health have crucial role to play in occupational health and may play a particularly important role in addressing the needs of underrepresented groups of employees for occupational health.
Environmental health has been understood as a public health concern in relation to air pollutants, water quality and exposure to environmental contaminants that are toxic, cancer causing or excitotoxic or are chemically radioactive in other respects. The rise of fossil fuels as an energy source for economic production and transport over the past two centuries, advances in mining and metallurgy on an industrial scale, and the introduction and widespread presence of synthetic chemical substances have contributed to health threats to the environment. Thus, these shifts have redefined the concept of environmental health. For most of the part, environmental health is included in the field of contagious illnesses and conditions, and it explores factors that increase population vulnerability and exposure to physical and mental illness patterns in various ways. Observational studies are the key to public health response to environmental health risks.
Improving the welfare of the working people helps boost the health of the population as a whole. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice) has established guidelines for public health that suggest practises, policies and strategies that can help prevent diseases or improve health for communities and individuals.
As described above, there is a high incidence of mental health issues in the workplace, but there has been very little research on the efficacy of treatments that help people stay at work or return to work. There is a need to educate, train and increase awareness of work-related and mental health issues. It is a goal to educate occupational health practitioners in the diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues. Also essential is the evaluation of long-term health issues. In order for the occupational health adviser to provide important advice for management on job fitness and recovery, liaison with an employee’s own doctor is critical.