OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY IN HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
Dr. Chinyere Nkele FRCS,FWACS, FISPN
Work is recognized as being beneficial for the psychosocial wellbeing of man.During the industrial revolution of the 18th century death andillness arising from work assumed unacceptable proportions. Though some work had been done on the effect of work on health earlier it was in Britain that the first law to regulate health and safety at work was promulgated in 1832.Since then many countries of the world have followed the trend resulting in a dramatic reduction in death and illness associated with work. As a result of this reduction much suffering by workers and their families has been ...view middle of the document...
BernadinoRamazzini was the first to study occupational health systematically and published a book on occupational diseases titled De MorbusArtificumDiatriba in the year 1700. He is addressed as the father of occupational healthIt was in Britain that the rest of occupational health developed.Percival Pott established the link between Chimney sweeping and scrotal cancer. George Baker established the link between abdominal colic (due to lead poisoning) and the Devonshire colic of that area of Britain at that time. With the advent of organized labour during the industrial revolution in the eighteenth century, work related accidents and illnesses began to assume unacceptable proportions. Charles Turner Thackray published the first British treatise in occupational health titled The Diseases of the Arts, Trades and Professions and of certain civic states and habit of living. This work was published in 1832.
It was the work of Charles Thackray and other activists that led to attempts to address the effects of work on health and was largely instrumental to the passing of the British Factories act of 1833. Since then occupational health and safety has developed in many advanced countries of the world.
In the United Kingdom the Health and Safety Executive is the regulator of occupational health and safety while in the United States of America The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) which was established in 1971is the regulator.
Nigeria first promulgated a Factories Decree in 1987. This was replaced with the Factories Act in 1999.The regulators are factory inspectors resident in the Ministry of Labour and Productivity. Unfortunately occupational health practice and regulation has not been as well structured in developing countries including Nigeria. Occupational health services have been endorsed by both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Contribution of occupational health and safety practice
The aims of Occupational Health as defined by the first session of the joint committee of the World Health Organization and International Labour Organisation in 1950 were:
• The promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental and social well- being of the worker in all occupations;
• The prevention among workers of departure from health caused by their work;
• The protection of workers in their employment from risk resulting from factors adverse to health;
• The planning and maintenance of workers in an environment adapted to his physiological ability; and
• The adaptation of work to man and each man to his job.
Workers represent half the world’s population and are the major contributors to economic and social development. These workers are the bread winners of the families and supporters of the elderly. Their health is determined not only by workplace hazards but also by social and individual factors and access to health services.
It is useful to view occupational...