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Occupational Health is essentially preventive medicine. Joint ILO/WHO Committee on Occupational Health gave the following definition "Occupational Health should aim at Promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental and social well being of workers in all occupations, the Prevention among workers of departures from health caused by their working conditions and the Protection of workers in their employment from risks resulting from factors adverse to health, the placing and maintenance of worker in an occupational environment adapted to his physiological and psychological equipments. To summarize, the adaptation of work to man and of each man to his job.
Occupational environment is the sum of external conditions and influences which prevail at the place of work and which have a bearing on the health of the working population. Industrial worker is exposed to three types of interactions.
1. Man and physical, chemical & biological agents.
2. Man and Machine.
3. Man and man
Occupational hazards :
An industrial worker can be exposed to following hazards
a) Physical Hazards -
(1)Heat & Cold
b) Chemical Hazards -
(2)Inhalation - i)Dusts
iii)Metals & compounds
c) Biological Hazards - Agricultural workers and those working in Laboratories.
d) Mechanical Hazards - Protruding and moving parts causing accidents
e) Psychosocial Hazards-
(1) Due to - (i) Lack of job satisfaction
(iii) Failure to adapt to working environment.
(iv) Poor human relationship.
(2) Causing (i) Hostility, aggressiveness, anxiety, depression, alcoholism, sickness absenteeism.
(ii) Psychosomatic - fatigue, headache, pain in neck, back, peptic ulcer, Hypertension and rapid ageing.
Occupational Diseases :
Diseases arising out of or in the course of employment are termed as occupational diseases. They may be grouped as under.
I. Diseases due to physical Agents.
1. Heat - Hyperpyrexia, Heat Exhaustion, heat syncope heat cramps, burns, prickly heat.
2. Cold - Trench foot, Frost Bite, Chilblains.
3. Light - Cataract, Nystagmus
4. Pressure - Caissons disease, air embolism.
5. Noise - Deafness
6. Radiation - Leukaemia, aplastic anaemia, pancytopemia.
7. Mechanical - Physical injuries
8. Electricity - Burns
II. Diseases due to Chemical agents
1. Gas poisoning - Co2, Co, HCN, CS2, NH3, NH2, H2O, HCL, SO2
2. Dusts (Pneumoconiosis)
i) Inorganic - a) Coal - Anthracosis
b) Silica - Silicosis
c) Asbestos - Asbestosis
d) Iron - Siderosis
ii) Organic a) Cane - Bagassosis
b) Cotton - Byssinosis
c) Tobaco - Tobaccosis
d) Hay - farmer's wing
3. Metals & their compounds - Lead, Mercury, Cadmicon, Manganese, arsenic,
4. Chemicals - Acids, Alkallies, Pesticides
5. Solvents - CS2, Benzene, Trichloroethylene, Chloroform
III. Diseases due to Biological agents :
Brucellosis, Leptospirosis, Anthrax, Actinomycosis, hydatidosis, Tetanus, encephalitis, fungal Infection etc.
IV. Occupational Cancers - of Skin, Lungs, bladder
V. Occupational Dermatosis - Dermatitis, Eczema
VI. Diseases of Psychological origin- Industrial Neurosis, Hypertension, Peptic-ulcer etc.
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