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Occupational Disease

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What is Occupational Disease?

Any illness associated with a specific occupation or industry is referred to as an occupational disease. Such diseases are caused by a variety of biological, chemical, physical, and psychological factors that exist in the workplace or are encountered in the course of employment. Occupational medicine is concerned with the impact of all types of work on health, as well as the impact of health on a worker's ability and efficiency.

Occupational diseases are largely preventable and can be traced back to poor working conditions. Controlling occupational health hazards reduces the occurrence of work-related diseases and accidents while also improving worker health and morale, resulting in lower absenteeism and increased worker efficiency. In most cases, the moral and financial benefits far outweigh the costs of removing occupational hazards.

Job Placement

Certain pre-existing medical conditions may put people at a disadvantage in certain jobs. In such cases, a pre-employment health questionnaire or medical examination can be extremely beneficial in determining job unsuitability before training time and expense have been incurred. Job suitability may also need to be monitored on a regular basis to ensure employee health and ability.

Airline pilots, for example, are subjected to regular medical examinations because a pilot with failing vision or a heart condition that can lead to a heart attack could endanger many lives. When a worker is found to be unfit for a specific job, the health service can provide valuable advice on alternative employment.

What is an Occupational Hazard?

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Let's define occupational hazard. Occupational hazards are the risks of illnesses or accidents occurring at work. In other words, hazards that employees face at their workplace. A workplace hazard is something unpleasant that a person encounters or suffers as a result of their job. According to some dictionaries, the term also includes hazards that people encounter while working on their hobbies.

Types of Occupational Hazards

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According to their nature, occupational health hazards are classified into five categories:

1) Physical risks associated with noise, ionising radiation, and temperature.

2) Chemical hazards from exposure to gases, vapours, fumes, and chemicals

3) Biological hazards, such as exposure to viruses, bacteria, blood, and blood products

4) Ergonomic risks are those associated with the need for incorrect posture, monotony, repetitiveness, work shifts, and stressful situations.

5) Accident risks, such as an unsuitable work environment, insufficient lighting, and potential electrical and fire accidents

Psychosocial Hazards

Psychosocial hazards are occupational hazards that have an impact on the psychological health of employees. These hazards have an impact on their ability to participate in a work environment with other coworkers.

The design, organisation, and management of the work all contribute to psychosocial hazards. They are also linked to the work's social and economic contexts. Patients experience psychological or psychiatric harm or illness. Some people are also injured or sick.

Workplace violence and stress, for example, are both psychosocial hazards.

Chemical Hazards

Chemical hazards are occupational hazards caused by chemical exposure in the workplace. Victims may suffer from short-term or long-term health consequences.

Hundreds of hazardous chemicals exist, including immune agents, dermatologic agents, carcinogens, neurotoxins, and reproductive toxins. Hazardous chemicals include asthmagens, sensitizers, and systemic toxins.

Prevention of Occupational Diseases

Public health distinguishes three levels of prevention, each with occupational parallels: Primary (1) prevention is the most effective because it focuses on preventing disease or injury at the source, before it occurs.

Secondary (2) prevention aims to raise awareness and detect symptoms early in order to reduce the impact (and spread) of a disease or injury via education, hazard communication, and screening programmes.

Tertiary (3) prevention focuses on minimising the harm and impact of an illness or injury by facilitating treatment, ensuring income security, organising housing, and assisting in the return to work, while increasing local and societal recognition (and eventually exposure control) through compensation documentation and associated costs.

Examples of Occupational Health Hazards

1. Mechanical Hazards 

  • Falls, cuts, abrasions, concussions, and contusions are all examples of injuries.

  • Ergonomics is the science of adjusting man and machine.

  • Ergonomic tools – Tools that reduce the stresses or problems that cause CTDs / MSDs.

2. Psychosocial Hazards

  • Lack of job satisfaction, insecurity, poor interpersonal relations, work pressure, and ambiguity are all examples of psychosocial hazards.

  • Hostility, aggression, anxiety, depression, alcoholism, drug addiction, sickness absenteeism are all examples of psychological and behavioural changes.

  • Psychosomatic disorders such as hypertension, headaches, body aches, peptic ulcers, asthma, diabetes, and heart problems are examples of psychosomatic disorders.

3. Heat Illness

Excessive physical activity, extreme ageing, poor physical condition, fatigue, and excessive clothing Dehydration, Cardiovascular disease, Skin conditions, Obesity, and Phenothiazines, anticholinergics, diuretics, amphetamines, cocaine, MAOIs are all drugs.

What is a Hazard?

A hazard is defined as a situation that poses a potential threat or risk to life, health, property, or the environment. The vast majority of hazards are dormant or potential, posing only a theoretical risk of harm; however, when a hazard becomes "active," an emergency can arise. A hazard is a source of potential harm or negative outcome from previous, current, or future exposures.

The term hazardous refers to a condition, circumstance, or combination of factors that create a significant risk or danger of causing bodily harm or property damage. It is frequently used to describe hazardous substances and materials such as flammables, explosives, irritants, sensitizers, acids, and caustics, even when such materials are relatively harmless in diluted concentrations.

Occupational Health and Safety Problems

It is the responsibility of an occupational health service to keep all employees informed about workplace hazards. Employee health-protection measures should be thoroughly explained so that workers understand the importance of complying with such vexing or unpleasant restrictions as the wearing of protective clothing and face masks. First aid facilities should be organised, and employees should be trained in first aid procedures in the event of an accident or other emergency.

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FAQs on Occupational Disease

1. What is the Occupational Hazard Definition?

Answer: An occupational hazard is a hazard encountered at work. Chemical hazards, biological hazards, psychosocial hazards, and physical hazards are all examples of occupational hazards.

2. How Can Occupational Hazards Be Prevented?

Answer: Occupational Dangers can be prevented if we follow the below-mentioned steps:

  1. Identify the hazards in your workplace.

  2. Reduce the amount of noise in your workplace.

  3. Make an effort to reduce environmental stress.

  4. Carry out regular checks and drills.

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