Occupational medicine

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Occupational Medicine
Occupational Medicine Physician
  • Physician
Occupation type
Activity sectors
Education required
Fields of
Hospitals, Clinics

Occupational medicine, until 1960[1] called industrial medicine,[2][3] is the branch of medicine which is concerned with the maintenance of health in the workplace, including prevention and treatment of diseases and injuries, with secondary objectives of maintaining and increasing productivity and social adjustment in the workplace.[2][4]

Therefore, the branch of clinical medicine active in the field of occupational health and safety. OM specialists work to ensure that the highest standards of occupational health and safety are achieved and maintained in the workplace. While OM may involve a wide number of disciplines, it centers on preventive medicine and the management of illness, injury, and disability related to the workplace.[5] Occupational physicians must have a broad knowledge of clinical medicine and be competent in some important fields. They often advise international bodies, governmental and state agencies, organizations, and trade unions.[6][citation needed] There are contextual links to physical medicine and rehabilitation and to insurance medicine. In recent times, as the burden of disease from psychosocial occupational risk factors is increasingly being recognized and quantified,[7] occupational medicine is increasingly also focusing on addressing these occupational hazards.


Occupational medicine aims to prevent diseases and promote wellness among workers.[8] Occupational health physicians must:

  • Have knowledge of potential hazards in the workplace including toxic properties of materials used.
  • Be able to evaluate employee fitness for work.
  • Be able to diagnose and treat occupational disease and injury.
  • Know about rehabilitation methods, health education, and government laws and regulations concerning workplace and environmental health.
  • Be able to manage health service delivery.[8]

OM can be described as:

work that combines clinical medicine, research, and advocacy for people who need the assistance of health professionals to obtain some measure of justice and health care for illnesses they suffer as a result of companies pursuing the biggest profits they can make, no matter what the effect on workers or the communities they operate in.[9]


The first textbook of occupational medicine, De Morbis Artificum Diatriba (Diseases of Workers), was written by Italian physician Bernardino Ramazzini in 1700.

Governmental bodies[edit]

United States[edit]

Russian Federation[edit]

Research Institute of Occupational Medicine of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow)

Non-governmental organizations[edit]



United Kingdom[edit]

United States[edit]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ Google Ngram Viewer chart
  2. ^ a b Encyclopædia Britannica
  3. ^ It can be confusing that British English also uses industrial medicine to refer to occupational health and safety and also uses occupational health to refer to occupational medicine. See the Collins Dictionary's entries for industrial medicine and occupational medicine and occupational health.
  4. ^ McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms
  5. ^ Thomas McClure, MD. "What Is Occupational Medicine and What Do Occupational Medicine Specialists Do?". San Francisco Medical Society. Archived from the original on 26 September 2006. Retrieved 9 April 2016.
  6. ^ "Occupational Medicine". American Medical Association. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
  7. ^ Pega, Frank; Nafradi, Balint; Momen, Natalie; Ujita, Yuka; Streicher, Kai; Prüss-Üstün, Annette; Technical Advisory Group (2021). "Global, regional, and national burdens of ischemic heart disease and stroke attributable to exposure to long working hours for 194 countries, 2000–2016: A systematic analysis from the WHO/ILO Joint Estimates of the Work-related Burden of Disease and Injury". Environment International. 154: 106595. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2021.106595. PMC 8204267. PMID 34011457.
  8. ^ a b "New to Occupational and Environmental Medicine". ACOEM. Retrieved 2021-11-21.
  9. ^ Interview with Dr. Stephen Levin/Obituary, Katie Halper, The Nation, February 14, 2012