Every day, too many people lose their lives due to occupational accidents or work-related diseases. Many of these occupational accidents cause long absence from work, which leads to economic burden and many daily problems for the victim. The governments of different countries implemented The Health and Safety at Work Act to avoid these occupational miseries.
International Labour Organization (ILO) promotes an annual international campaign as World Day for Safety and Health at Work on 28th April that encourages safe, healthy, and ethical work at business places globally. The main objectives of the ILO are to reassure worker rights in the workplace, provide employment opportunities, and have a productive discussion on work-related matters.
National occupational safety and health at work provide a right to a safe and healthy working ambiance at each work level, where governments and employers actively indulge in creating a safe and healthy environment through a scheme. This system defines the rights, responsibilities, and commitments of employees and workers acceptable to the principle of prevention of occupational hazards. Everyone must create an occupational safety and health environment on the priority list.
What are occupational health hazards?
Occupational health hazards are workplace condition that leads to risk to employers’ health. Workplaces should emphasize their attention to the primary prevention of occupational hazards. The occupational safety and health administration (OSHA) characterized occupational health and safety hazards into five categories:
- Physical safety hazard: It includes manual handling injuries due to workplace accidents which can be machinery operational accidents, electrical, explosive, falls, slips add trips, and the gases under pressure. Physical safety accidents are the most common occupational hazards affecting the mass of employers.
- Biological hazard: The main culprits of these hazards are airborne pathogens, mold and fungi, insects bite, blood and body fluid contact, harmful plants, and birds and animal droppings. They can cause hepatitis A, B, and C, influenza, Lyme disease, toxoplasmosis, insects bite, anthrax, tuberculosis, skin problems, AIDS, Histoplasmosis, lung diseases, and COVID-19 infection.
- Chemical hazard: It occurs after cumulative exposures to solvents, paints, adhesives, toxic dust, heavy metals, or other toxic fumes or acids. Chemical health problems can be
- Acute (occurs immediately, such as nausea, vomiting, acid burns, explosive damage, or asphyxiation)
- Chronic (asthma, silicosis, dermatitis, liver problems, or cancers).
- Physical hazard: It involves radiation exposure, excessive noise, high or low temperature, vibrations, height, and body stressing, which leads to occupational hearing loss, arsenic or lead poisoning, frostbite, hypothermia, impaired or insensitivities in fingers and hands, heatstroke, sleep disturbances, and radiation damage.
- Ergonomic hazards: These are workplace conditions that cause damage to the body and cause injury. Repeated posture or pressure causes musculoskeletal injuries and disorders, such as back pain, carpal tunnel syndromes, tendonitis, neck pain, and bone and muscle problems surrounding the knees and legs.
What are the fundamental points of occupational health and safety?
Occupational health and safety problems are common problems. The occupational safety and health administration (OSHA) ensures that all employers have a safe working environment and that workplaces take care of the health of their workers. The workplaces should focus on some fundamental points to ensure their workers’ health and safety, which includes:
- Ensuring workplace premises have fire safety, proper waste management, cleanliness, and proper ventilation. Medical labs and construction sites have many additional safety standards.
- All the devices used in workplaces should be safe and periodically checked for safety.
- Workplaces should fulfill basic requirements such as sanitized washrooms, heating and air conditioning, and clean drinking water. The employees also take responsibility for their safety and health by keeping these areas clean.
- A workplace should focus on and maintain employers’ physical, mental, and social well-being.
- Workplaces should identify the occupational hazards and take appropriate actions to control these hazards.
- Workplaces should educate their employers about the potential occupational hazards and train them about measures to protect themselves from these dangers.
- They try to curb the risk factors which causes adverse effect on the safety and health of employees.
- They should assess the occupational environment to encourage physiological and psychological health.
- They should try to reduce workers’ unavailability at work due to poor health because of occupational conditions.
- The workplaces should continually review their occupation strength and faults and take appropriate steps to improve their system.
Occupational health and safety is all about the positive wellness of workers, concerning their comfort and happiness, and is not limited to only preventing occupational mishaps and illness. It is achievable through a joint effort of employees and employers.