What is OSH

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), more than 2.78 million deaths occur per year as a result of occupational accidents or work-related diseases. In addition, there are some 374 million non-fatal work-related injuries and illnesses each year, many of these resulting in extended absences from work. The human cost of this daily adversity is vast and the economic burden of poor occupational safety and health practices is estimated at 3.94 percent of global Gross Domestic Product each year.

The ILO defines occupational safety and health (OSH) as the science of the anticipation, recognition, evaluation and control of hazards arising in or from the workplace that could impair the health and well-being of workers. Its concern is the prevention of workplace illnesses, accidents, injuries and most esp. fatalities. It is a multidisciplinary field from a wide range of disciplines and professions mostly from the sub-fields of engineering and medicine.

For example, engineering concepts are used to design the lay out and ventilation of a chemical manufacturing facility so that workers do not get exposed to the chemicals. Workstations can ergonomically designed so workers do not suffer from musculoskeletal pains brought about by awkward and repetitive motions. Blood and urine samples can also be extracted from workers to determine the levels of chemicals in their systems.

Thus OSH serves an important purpose-keeping injuries, accidents, and illnesses at bay so workers can have a fruitful and delightful way of life both at work and at play.