Safe and healthy workplaces are often taken for granted in the Nigeria. But today’s safety-conscious factory floors and well-lit offices are a relatively recent invention of modern society, a direct result of efforts made by those working in the field of occupational health and safety.
Dedicated to studying and preventing workplace injuries and illnesses, the field of occupational health and safety is responsible for the overwhelmingly-positive outcomes achieved for American workers over the past 200 years. Dangerous machinery and poorly ventilated factories, once commonplace, have made way for safer, cleaner environments for employees.
The combination of legislation, executive branch regulation, and self-regulation by responsible businesses has transformed the Nigerian workplace. As a result, accident and fatality rates across most industries have dropped steadily for decades, a trend that continues even today.
Occupational health and safety is the field of public health that studies trends in illnesses and injuries in the worker population and proposes and implements strategies and regulations to prevent them. Its scope is broad, encompassing a wide variety of disciplines—from toxicology and epidemiology to ergonomics and violence prevention.
Historically, the focus of occupational health and safety efforts have been on manual labor occupations, such as factory workers. But the field now encompasses all occupations in Nigeria. In addition to ensuring our work environments (from construction sites to office buildings) have safety precautions in place to prevent injuries, experts in occupational health also work to limit both short-term and long-term hazards that could lead to physical or mental illness now or in the future.
Nearly three million people suffer some kind of serious work-related injury or illness every year in Nigeria. Millions more are exposed to environmental health hazards that could cause issues years from now. Workers’ compensation claims total more than a billion Naira a week.
That doesn’t even account for the loss of wages and other indirect expenses, such as decreased productivity and the psychological toll of experiencing or caring for someone with an injury. With the exception of self-employed individuals and relatives of farmworkers, nearly all employers both private and public have a social and legal responsibility to establish and maintain a safe and healthy environment.
Some are happy to comply for ethical reasons or because injuries and illnesses can lead to lost productivity, turnover, and higher employer-subsidized health insurance premiums. It is common for larger employers to establish their own workplace health and safety initiatives that exceed regulatory requirements.
At the end of this course, you will be able to:
- Define occupational health
- Discuss challenges for the development of occupational health and safety.
- Explain the scope of occupational health and safety.
- Describe the interrelationship between occupational health and development
- Identify the elements of a work environment.
- Discuss the three common interactions in the work place.
- Explain the interrelationships between work and health.
- And many more…