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What is the definition of occupational health and safety?

In most cases, safe and healthy workplaces are frequently taken for granted. Today’s safety-conscious factory floors and well-lit offices, on the other hand, are a relatively recent innovation of modern society—a direct outcome of the efforts of people working in the field of occupational health and safety.

The field of occupational health and safety, which is dedicated to investigating and preventing workplace injuries and diseases, is responsible for the largely positive outcomes obtained for workers.

Dangerous machinery and poorly ventilated workplaces, which were once typical, have given way to safer, cleaner working spaces.

As a result, accident and death rates in most industries have consistently declined over decades, a trend that continues today.

Definition

Occupational health and safety is a branch of public health that investigates trends in illnesses and injuries among workers and recommends and implements prevention methods and laws. It covers a wide range of subjects, from toxicology and epidemiology to ergonomics and violence prevention.

Experts in occupational health work to restrict both short-term and long-term dangers that could lead to physical or mental illness now or in the future, in addition to ensuring our work surroundings have safety procedures in place to prevent injuries.

Current concerns

Today’s occupational health and safety professionals study and regulate a wide range of challenges. Physical hazards such as lofty heights and heavy gear, for example, may be of greater concern to construction employees, whereas mental health and repetitive stress injuries may be the focus of office workplaces.

Falls

Every year, hundreds of workers die as a result of workplace falls. Falls are the main cause of fatalities among construction workers, despite the fact that they are almost always preventable.

Working from great heights is unavoidable for many builders, but with proper safety procedures, deaths and injuries can be prevented. These measures should begin even before the work begins, during the planning stages.

Employers should factor the cost of safety equipment, such as harnesses, scaffolding, and fall arrest devices, into the project’s budget so that every worker has access to and is taught to utilize the equipment they require.

Illness caused by heat

Every year, hundreds of workers die as a result of working in high heat or humidity, and thousands more fall ill, according to OSHA. Most of these accidents happen in the construction industry, but they can happen to anyone working in an uncontrolled setting.

For its part, OSHA is encouraging business owners and managers to protect their employees from heat-related illness and injury by promoting a messaging campaign that encourages them to provide water.

Repetitive stress injuries

Injuries caused by improper posture and repeated actions are a growing source of worry in the workplace. Many people work nearly entirely on computers, mousing and typing for long periods of time, resulting in overuse of various muscles and joints.

This type of repetitive activity can lead to illnesses such as carpal tunnel syndrome and even eye strain. Modern workers’ proclivity to adopt improper posture when using electronic gadgets can also lead to long-term pain, lost productivity, and medical costs.

When lost productivity and employer medical costs are factored in, many firms discover that investing in ergonomics and office-based safety efforts (such as addressing slips, trips, and falls) actually provides a positive return on investment.

Injuries that aren’t fatal

Many people associate workplace safety with traditionally dangerous occupations such as construction, deep-sea fishing, or logging. Indeed, these industries have among the highest fatal accident rates among employees.

Non-fatal injuries and illnesses, on the other hand, paint a different narrative. These injuries can cause significant productivity losses because more than half of them result in days absent from work, not to mention the additional burden of treatment expenditures and human anguish.