• Occupational Health: How it All Started

    Occupational health and safety is protecting the health, safety, and welfare of people engaged in employment or any type of work. The goal is to provide programs that see to it that institutions and organizations provide a safe and healthy workplace environment for everyone.

    It is important to know the history and to see where it all started, and how well the programs improved from the time it all began.

    • 400 BC – Hippocrates found that there were toxic effects caused by lead among workers in the mining industry. This gave way to rules relating to the environment and workers’ health.
    • 100 AD – Pliny the Elder, a Roman scholar, discovered the health risk of workers handling zinc and sulfur, which lead him to create a type of face mask made from animal bladder to safeguard workers from exposure to dust and lead fumes.
    • 200 – Greek physician Galen discovered the accurate pathology of lead poisoning, and found the health risk of copper miners due to acid mists.
    • 1200 – 1500 – Associations started helping sick workers and their families
    • 1556 – German scholar Agricola introduced the science of industrial hygiene and described the diseases of miners and advised preventive measures.
    • 1700 – Bernadino Ramazzini, known as the father of industrial medicine, published the first comprehensive book on occupational health. The book contained accurate descriptions of occupational diseases during his time. He also suggested that occupational diseases should be studied in work areas and not in hospital wards.
    • 1743 – Ulrich Ellenborg published an occupational diseases and injuries pamphlet about gold miners, which explained the toxicity of nitric acid, carbon monoxide, mercury and lead.
    • 1774 – Percival Potts established a link between soot and nasal, and scrotal, cancer. This is the first ever link between work environments and cancer.
    • 1833 – the first cross-country legislation in the field of industrial safety was passed and known as the English Factory Acts.
    • 1845 – Friedrich Engels gave a detailed account of the impacts of industrialization to the health of male and female factory workers.
    • 1898 – the hazardous effects of asbestos were reported in the Factory Inspector’s report.
    • 1946 – the World Health Organization defined Occupational Health as, “the state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.”
    • 1961 and 1963 – Several Acts were passed that were concerned with occupational safety like the Factories Act, Offices Shops, and Railway Premises Act.
    • 1972 – 1974 – A report of the Committee of Safety and Health at Work about occupational health led the passing of Health and Safety at Work Act and the current regulatory framework.

    Without scientific discovery and analysis, we might still be working in hazardous areas without the necessary safety equipment that we use today.

    Source:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupational_safety_and_health

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