Occupational Health – What Is the BIG Picture of OH?
The rapid development of workplace health protective and preventive services has been driven by government strategies and recommendations and the European Union legislation in the areas of health and safety at work and by the European Commission program in public health. This was also mainly due to the new demands and expectations from employers, employees, and their representative bodies as they recognize the economic, social, and health benefits achieved by providing these services at the workplace, thus providing the available knowledge and evidence necessary for the continuous improvement of workplace health management. Comprehensive workplace health management is a process involving all stakeholders inside and outside any business. It aims at empowering them to take control over their health and their family’s health considering environmental, lifestyle, occupational, and social health determinants, and quality of health care. It is based on health promotion principles, and it creates a significant challenge to health, environmental, and safety professionals providing services, advice, information, and education to social partners at work. It also involves taking care of the considerable socioeconomic interest of all involved stakeholders. It has been shown in several instances that the business utilizing a well-managed research-based occupational health service can gain a competitive advantage by:
Protecting human health against health and safety hazards occurring in the work environment.
Promoting human health workplaces for all ages and healthy aging by appropriate OH work culture, work organization, and support to social cohesion.
Promoting mental health, healthy lifestyle, and preventing major non-communicable diseases using specific workplace health policies and management tools.
Maintaining workability, thus also employability throughout working life.
Reducing health care costs caused by employees’ and employers’ injuries, diseases, illnesses and premature retirement resulting from or influenced by occupational, environmental, lifestyle and social health determinants
Using resources effectively, protecting the natural environment, and creating a healthy, supportive environment.
This article series describes the author’s observations of various roles undertaken by the occupational health nurse. While recognizing the wide variation in occupational health nursing practice between different industrial and blue collar environments, this series reflects the standards that have already been achieved where occupational health nursing is at its most advanced. However, it has to be recognized that the level of education, professional skills, and the exiting national legislation determines what role can be undertaken by occupational health nurses. Even more important is to remember that no one professional out of the exiting workplace health professions is now capable of meeting all the working population’s health needs. A multi-disciplinary approach is needed to effectively manage the growing workplace health and safety demands in business today Blog Express.
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