Occupational health program structure, benefit, background, responsibility & good practice dr cyril paltoo
DR. CYRIL D. PALTOO M.B.B.S.(UWI); Dip. P.C.F.M. (UWI)
What is Occupational Health Articles in the ILO Convention 161 What is in the OSH Act and its medicalrequirements The Global Plan of Action (2008-2017) How is the medical team and the Ministry ofHealth positioned to deal with OSH Conclusion
The primary objective is to determine how canaccidents and incidents be prevented in theworkplace A strong preventative approach is needed What then constitute a strong preventativeapproach?
Since 1950, the International LabourOrganization (ILO) and the World HealthOrganization (WHO) have shared acommon definition of OccupationalHealth.It was adopted by the Joint ILO/WHOCommittee on Occupational Health at itsfirst session in 1950 and revised at itstwelfth session in 1994.
“Occupational Health should aim at: thepromotion and maintenance of the highest degreeof physical, mental and social well-being ofworkers in all occupations; the prevention amongstworkers of departures from health caused by theirworking conditions; the protection of workers intheir employment from risks resulting from factorsadverse to health; the placing and maintenance ofthe worker in an occupational environmentadapted to his physiological and psychologicalcapabilities; and, to summarize, the adaptation ofwork to man and of each man to his job.”
Articles in this convention which will bementioned are:-1. Article 12. Article 23. Article 34. Article 55. Article 9
Article 1: (The two terms used)(a) the term occupational health services meansservices entrusted with essentially preventivefunctions and responsible for advising theemployer, the workers and their representatives inthe undertaking on-(i) the requirements for establishing and maintaininga safe and healthy working environment whichwill facilitate optimal physical and mental healthin relation to work;(ii) the adaptation of work to the capabilities ofworkers in the light of their state of physical andmental health;
Article 1 (cont):-(b) the term workers representatives inthe undertaking means persons whoare recognised as such undernational law or practice.
Article 2In the light of national conditions and practiceand in consultation with the mostrepresentative organisations of employers andworkers, where they exist, each Member shallformulate, implement and periodically reviewa coherent national policy on occupationalhealth services.
Article 3. 1. Each Member undertakes to develop progressivelyoccupational health services for all workers, includingthose in the public sector and the members ofproduction co-operatives, in all branches of economicactivity and all undertakings. The provision madeshould be adequate and appropriate to the specificrisks of the undertakings. 2. If occupational health services cannot beimmediately established for all undertakings, eachMember concerned shall draw up plans for theestablishment of such services in consultation with themost representative organisations of employers andworkers, where they exist.
Article 5…….occupational health services shall have such of thefollowing functions as are adequate and appropriate to theoccupational risks of the undertaking:(a) identification and assessment of the risks from healthhazards in the workplace;(b) surveillance of the factors in the working environment andworking practices which may affect workers health,including sanitary installations, canteens and housing wherethese facilities are provided by the employer;(c) advice on planning and organisation of work, including thedesign of workplaces, on the choice, maintenance andcondition of machinery and other equipment and onsubstances used in work;
(d) participation in the development of programmes for theimprovement of working practices as well as testing andevaluation of health aspects of new equipment;(e) advice on occupational health, safety and hygiene and onergonomics and individual and collective protectiveequipment;(f) surveillance of workers health in relation to work;(g) promoting the adaptation of work to the worker;(h) contribution to measures of vocational rehabilitation;(i) collaboration in providing information, training andeducation in the fields of occupational health and hygieneand ergonomics;(j) organising of first aid and emergency treatment;(k) participation in analysis of occupational accidents andoccupational diseases.
Article 91. In accordance with national law and practice,occupational health services should bemultidisciplinary. The composition of the personnelshall be determined by the nature of the duties to beperformed.2. Occupational health services shall carry out theirfunctions in co-operation with the other services in theundertaking.3. Measures shall be taken, in accordance with nationallaw and practice, to ensure adequate co-operation andco-ordination between occupational health servicesand, as appropriate, other bodies concerned with theprovision of health services.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act was assent to onthe 30th January 2004. It follows closely to theCARICOM Model. It was then published in the Trinidadand Tobago Gazette Volume 43 Number 20 on the 5thFebruary 2004.The Factories Ordinance of 1948 was still law at this pointin time.The Note on Proclamation (LN48/2006) stated that the actwas brought into force on the 17th day of February 2006with the exception of section 98.
6. (1) It shall be the duty of everyemployer to ensure, so far as isreasonably practicable, thesafety, health and welfare atwork of all his employees.
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of anemployer’s duty under subsection (1), thematters to which that duty extendsinclude in particular—(a) the provision and maintenance ofplant and systems of work that are, so faras is reasonably practicable, safe andwithout risks to health;
(b) arrangements for ensuring, so far as isreasonably practicable, safety and absence ofrisks to health in connection with the use,handling, storage and transport of equipment,machinery, articles and substances; (c) the provision of adequate and suitableprotective clothing or devices of an approvedstandard to employees who in the course ofemployment are likely to be exposed to the riskof head, eye, ear, hand or foot injury, injury fromair contaminant………
(3) An employer shall—(a) ensure that all hazardous chemicalspresent in the industrial establishmentare labeled in a way easilyunderstandable to the employees, or areidentified in the prescribed manner;(b) obtain or prepare, as may be prescribed,an unexpired chemical safety data sheetfor all hazardous chemicals present in theworkplace;
(9) An employer shall, after being notified by a femaleemployee that she is pregnant and uponproduction of a medical certificate to that effect,adapt the working conditions of the femaleemployee to ensure that she is not—(a) involved in the use of, or exposed to,chemicals, substances or anything dangerous tothe health of the unborn child; or(b) subjected to working conditions dangerousto the health of the unborn child, and whereappropriate, the employer may assign alternativework, where available, to her without prejudice toher right to return to her previous job.
Recalling and recognizing the recommendations ofthe World Summit on Sustainable Development(Johannesburg, South Africa, 2002) on strengtheningWHO action on occupational health and linking it topublic health Recalling the Promotional Framework forOccupational Safety and Health Convention, 2006,and the other international instruments in the area ofoccupational safety and health adopted by theGeneral Conference of the ILO; Considering that the health of workers is determinednot only by occupational hazards, but also by socialand individual factors, and access to health services;
Mindful that interventions exist for primaryprevention of occupational hazards and fordeveloping healthy workplaces; Concerned that there are major gaps betweenand within countries in the exposure ofworkers and local communities to occupationalhazards and in their access to occupationalhealth services; Stressing that the health of workers is anessential prerequisite for productivity andeconomic development,
To develop and implement national policies,action plans and programs on OH To protect and promote health at the workplace To improve performance and access to OHservices To provide and communicate evidence forpreventive actions To address workers through non-healthpolicies
They unanimously committed full supportdevelopment of a WHO global plan of actionon workers health Despite availability of effective interventions,too many workers were still exposed tounacceptable occupational risks and fallvictims to occupational diseases and workaccidents. On the contrary, too few have access tooccupational health services.
This shows that there is very little focus onworker health matters and on occupationalillness surveillance challenges.There is limited availability of qualified Industrialmedicine and industrial hygiene practitioners.There is absence of OH/IH regulations (ACOPsetc.- approved code of practice) and limitedextent of IHS (Industrial Hygiene Surveys)because of it’s inability to pay for these servicesOverall the national OSH culture is notconsidered.
Goals are simply stated and there is a need tobring OH to the front burner and linkresources.There is need to encourage an appropriatenational culture, i.e. health seeking behavioursand also to encourage industry to pursuecomprehensive worker health strategies.There is need to influence the development ofeffective national policies for health andinfluence establishment of accessible,affordable OH services.
The Ministry of Health hasnow developed andpublished a policy onOccupational Safety andHealth
“The Ministry of Health is a proactive institution that makes soundevidence-based decisions to assure standards of excellence are achievedby all agencies that promote, protect and improve the health of thepeople of Trinidad and Tobago.”“Our mission is to provide leadership for the health sector by focusing on policymaking, planning, monitoring and regulation. The Ministry of Health will set nationalpriorities based on needs assessment and will influence the provision of care by acombination of financing and regulation of public and private services.”Mrs. Sandra Jones Permanent Secretary•Promotion of Occupational Safety and Health•Creating awareness on Occupational Safety and Health•Prevention of Occupational Diseases•Safety of Plants and Machinery•Medical Surveillance and examination of workers•The Safety and Health of employees and the Public•Processing of work injury benefits claim•Emergency Evacuation Plan
The majority of developing countries lackthe political mechanisms to translatescientific findings into effective policies.In reality policy makers in the developingworld do not lack information.They are driven by the need to addressmore pressing social and health issuesthat are politically less complicated andmore saleable to the general public.
Workers Health and Safety is protected underthe OSH Act of 2004 amended 2006 The International Labour Organization (ILO)has set out criteria in its articles Specific medical issues in the OSH act Global Plan of Action (2008-2017) The Ministry’s position on OSH