Workers are exposed to high risk of accidents and occupational health hazards. The need to create more awareness and draw attention in reducing or controlling workplace based occupational health hazards is essential.
The public health issue of occupational illness is a potential risk to the health of individuals exposed to an unhealthy environment. The Act for Occupational Health and Safety describes occupational hazard or illness as a condition arising from exposure to physical, chemical or biological agent in a workplace affecting normal physiological mechanisms and impairing health of the worker. Occupational hazard is any material, processes, activities or situations that can result in accidents or diseases at the workplace. Occupational illness develops after long exposure to ergonomic hazards, disease-causing bacteria and viruses, chemicals or dust over a period of time because of unhygienic and unhealthy conditions at workplace. Occupational health of musculoskeletal problems, blood borne diseases, tuberculosis, latex allergy, violence and work-related stress is neglected and considered a public health issue among healthcare workers in developing countries.Health problems among healthcare workers in hospitals can arise due to contact with chemicals and body fluids, accidents and absence of personal protective equipment. Occupational hazards among healthcare workers can largely be blamed on several issues within the healthcare system.
Management of Occupational Health
Occupational health and protection from work-related disorders is not a priority in many developing countries because of several other competing health issues. Evidence has shown that occupational hazards caused by problems of poor surveillance, under reporting, cultural, socio-economic and political challenges have existed for long in many developed countries which requires attention and awareness in occupational health. The lack of adequate laws and regulatory policies in work environment exposes workers to life threatening hazards. Occupational health and safety laws related to hazardous industries and health sector occupations are necessary in developing countries. Employed workers in undignified and value-deficient conditions are exposed to number of occupational accidents even with the existence of occupational health andsafety laws. Strict implementation and monitoring of occupational healthandsafety regulations in professional organisation can ensure compliance and creation of safe workingenvironment.
The various forms of occupational hazards need to be explored to understand the prevalent risk factors associated with developing countries and recommend measures to remedy the situation.Management of medical waste poses a high health riskin developing countries due to poor handling and collection, segregation, assortment and disposing of medical devices, sharps, blood samples and body tissues. Countries should prioritize occupational safety and health issues, regulate laws and invest in standard infection control measures or safety training programs among healthcare workers. Implementing policies and mounting surveillance on occupational hazards can ensure the safety of healthcare workers. Effective control and prevention of hazards is possible by creating awareness on hazardous conditions; identifying and evaluating control options for hazards; developing and implementing hazard control plan; promoting control measures and plans to protect workers during emergencies; evaluating effectiveness of existing controls for protection. Effective control and protection from workplace hazards helps avoid illnesses, injuries and incidents; improves safety and eliminates health risks among workers; enforces employers to provide a safe and healthy working conditions.
Online Course at JLI
James Lind Institute (JLI) provides an online program – Advanced PG Diploma in Occupational Health & Safety Management to help professionals learn about occupational health management.
For more information please visit: www.jliedu.com