|Classification and external resources|
An occupational disease is any chronic ailment that occurs as a result of work or occupational activity. It is an aspect of occupational safety and health. An occupational disease is typically identified when it is shown that it is more prevalent in a given body of workers than in the general population, or in other worker populations. The first such disease to be recognised, squamous-cell carcinoma of the scrotum, was identified in chimney sweep boys by Sir Percival Pott in 1775. Occupational hazards that are of a traumatic nature (such as falls by roofers) are not considered to be occupational diseases.
Under the law of workers' compensation in many jurisdictions, there is a presumption that specific disease are caused by the worker being in the work environment and the burden is on the employer or insurer to show that the disease came about from another cause. Diseases compensated by national workers compensation authorities are often termed occupational diseases. However, many countries do not offer compensations for certain diseases like musculoskeletal disorders caused by work (e.g. in Norway). Therefore the term work-related diseases is utilized to describe diseases of occupational origin. This term however would then include both compensable and non-compensable diseases that have occupational origins.
Some well-known occupational diseases include:
Occupational lung diseases include asbestosis among asbestos miners and those who work with friable asbestos insulation, as well as black lung (coalworker's pneumoconiosis) among coal miners, silicosis among miners and quarrying and tunnel operators and byssinosis among workers in parts of the cotton textile industry.
Bad indoor air quality may predispose for diseases in the lungs as well as in other parts of the body.
Occupational skin diseases and conditions are generally caused by chemicals and having wet hands for long periods while at work. Eczema is by far the most common, but urticaria, sunburn and skin cancer are also of concern.
High-risk occupations include:
- Metal machining
- Motor vehicle repair
Other diseases of concern
- Carpal tunnel syndrome among persons who work in the poultry industry and information technology
- Computer vision syndrome among persons using information technology for hours
- Lead poisoning affecting workers in many industries that processed or employed lead or lead compounds
- Phossy jaw among the London matchgirls
- Radiation sickness among some persons who had been working in the nuclear industry
- Radium jaw among the Radium Girls
- Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin of the scrotum among chimney sweeps (see Chimney sweeps' carcinoma)
In order to better prevent and control occupational disease, most countries revise and update their related laws, most of them greatly increasing the penalties in case of breaches of the occupational disease laws. Occupational disease prevention, in general legally regulated, is part of good supply chain management and enables companies to design and ensure supply chain social compliance schemes as well as monitor their implementation to identify and prevent occupational disease hazards.
- Industrial and organizational psychology
- Occupational health psychology
- Occupational medicine
- Occupational safety and health
- HSE (Health and Safety Executive of Great Britain) Skin at work Retrieved on June 20, 2009
- Hunter, Donald (1994). Diseases of Occupations (8th rev. ed.). Hodder Arnold. ISBN 0-340-55173-9.