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Occupational Health

What is Occupational Health?

It deals with all aspects of health and safety in the workplace and has a strong focus on primary prevention of hazards, including risk factors at the workplace leading to cancers, accidents, musculoskeletal diseases, respiratory diseases, hearing loss, circulatory diseases, stress related disorders and communicable diseases.

What are the most common occupational health problems?

  • Noise-induced hearing loss which results from prolonged exposure to sound greater than 85 decibels, leading to permanent hearing loss

  • Occupational dermatitis resulting from exposure to irritants at work

  • Occupational asthma resulting from prolonged exposure to respiratory sensitizers at work

  • Stress and mental ill health resulting from too many or too little demands, a lack of control and support, bad work relationships, your role or badly communicated workplace changes

  • Musculoskeletal disorders which includes strains, sprains, and overuse, resulting from lifting heavy or awkward loads, repetitive activities such as packing and stacking, or sitting in awkward positions for prolonged periods

What is the role of physiotherapy in occupational health?

The focus of physiotherapy is to improve the health and wellbeing of workers so that they can do their jobs efficiently and effectively. Physiotherapists provide significantly beneficial wide range of services to both employers and employees including:

  • Physiotherapy treatment and rehabilitation of work-relevant injuries on site or in an off-site treatment centre

  • Return to work planning

  • Improving an employee’s tolerance to work gradually

  • Education on injury prevention in the workplace

  • Ergonomic workplace assessments

  • Health promotion

  • Job task analysis and advice on modifications

  • Occupational and vocational rehabilitation

  • Functional capacity evaluations

  • Helping employers meet their work obligations under available work acts

  • Advice on compliance with Health and Safety obligations; specialist knowledge of manual handling and physical ergonomics in the office and workplace

  • Communication and reporting in order to facilitate return to work

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