Such conditions result from excessive exposure and can only be avoided through adequate control measures which will prevent or minimise exposure to harmful agents. The process by which evidence of hazardous occupational conditions and information on control methods is translated into actual implementation of control and prevention strategies to eliminate or dramatically reduce the hazardous exposure and associated health risk, is often the result of a subtle compromise between scientific evidence of varying degree of certainty, interest group lobbying, and feasibility considerations.
Workplace fatalities, injuries and illnesses remain at unacceptably high levels and involve an enormous and unnecessary health burden, suffering, and economic loss amounting to 4-5% of GDP. According to the latest ILO estimates for the year 2005 there are 2.0 million work-related deaths per year. WHO estimates that there are only 10-15% of workers who have access to a basic standard of occupational health services. (World Health Organization)
A potential health hazard exists when a ...
WHO estimates that there are only 10-15% of workers who have access to a basic standard of occupational health services. (World Health Organization)
A potential health hazard exists when a person comes in contact with any agent whose properties can cause harm to the body when excessive exposure takes place. A health hazard may result in an illness or a disease. An illness or disease is a specific malfunction of the body, or one of its systems or organs, which has a particular set of symptoms. Occupational illnesses and diseases are those caused by exposure to a hazard in the workplace.
According to the module titled, "Your Body at Work" by the International Labour Organisation (UN), the human body has natural defense systems which help to protect us against many hazards or dangers. Further, these defense systems also help the body to heal or repair itself when it gets injured or sick. However, there are hazards - arising from bacteria, viruses, chemicals, dusts, vapours, noise, extreme temperatures, work processes, etc. - to which a worker may be exposed or which are surrounding him or her at work or in the general environment, that can break down and weaken the body's defense systems.
Dealing with health hazards in the workplace involves three key steps: recognition, assessment and control. Recognizing the hazard means identifying those substances and agents present in the workplace which have the potential to cause adverse health effects. Assessing the hazard involves a process of identifying the actual or potential exposure of workers to the hazard and determining whether or not the exposure is hazardous. Controlling the hazard means limiting or preventing harmful exposure of workers to