Importance of Occupational Health

Dr. Shyam Pingle
Sr. Occupational Health Specialist, IIPHG

According to an estimate made by the International Labour Organization (ILO), about 330 million accidents annually occur globally. Also, 160 million workers are estimated to suffer from work-related diseases that lead to a death toll of 2.34 million workers every year and the loss of 4% of the world’s annual GDP. The cost of GDP loss goes higher up to 10% for some developing countries according to recent studies. Given the size of India’s GDP at 2.6 Trillion USD, the economic loss in India due to OSH factors could go up to 260 million USD.

Based on ILO estimates, the Workplace Safety and Health (WSH) Institute Singapore has estimated that all work-related diseases led to 3,11,340 deaths and occupational injuries led to 76,485 deaths in India during 2011. The number of those suffering from non-fatal diseases and injuries would be many times higher.

If we want to save this massive economic loss as well as more valuable human suffering, focus on occupational health and safety is imperative. For achieving occupational health, three approaches are most important; primary prevention, early detection and timely intervention. All three methods require a thorough knowledge of the work environment and this is where industrial hygiene comes in to picture.

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