The classic understanding of health at work comes under the banner of 'Occupational Health'.
This is the clinical arena that's all about managing the health of workers. It covers most of the work of doctors and nurses on things like fitness for work, health surveillance, sickness absence management etc. Its all good and necessary, but it's only one of the 3 dimensions of health at work.
The new kid on the health block, so to speak, is Wellbeing, the second dimension of health at work. This is all about promoting healthy lifestyle choices at work. Effectively it is bringing the modifiable factors of public health into the setting of the workplace. Obviously this is all good as well with benefits for both individuals and employers. It's worth pointing out here that when people refer to 'Health and Wellbeing' they usually mean clinical occupational health plus wellbeing.
Finally the third dimension of health at work is Occupational Hygiene. This is all about protecting people from workplace health risks. These are the risks the workplace itself creates; the man-made and entirely preventable risks. This dimension is the province of the scientific and engineering expertise of occupational hygienists. Its not about clinical health and treatment. It's a scientific risk management discipline embracing elements of chemistry, physics, biology, engineering, management, ergonomics, toxicology, psychology, anatomy and physiology.Back