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Basic concepts


Welcome to this very first week of “Occupational Health in Developing Countries”

This week consists of four topics, each followed by discussion and a quiz.

Introduction to occupational health

After this first part, you will be able to understand the definition of occupational health and know the importance of this scientific area. You will know the difference between acute and chronic health effects, – know how large the problem on occupational health is globally, know some examples of risk factors and some examples on how the health risk can be reduced. You will also be informed about the importance of work environment legislation and about personnel and institutions who practice in the area.

Risk assessment

In this part you will learn more about risk assessment in occupational health, and how this could be done in the industry. The results of a risk assessment should help employers to choose which risk controls are most appropriate. We will therefore also discuss the principles of control measures to reduce the health risks at the workplace.

Occupational injuries

In this session we will focus on the overwhelmingly high numbers of workers injured at work. It is estimated that over 350 000 fatalities are caused by occupational accidents every year. Most of these work-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. In these countries the proportion of workers in risky jobs is also higher than in high-income countries. We will discuss the occurrence of occupational injuries, their cost, some particularly high-risk sectors, as well as preventive measures that should be taken.

Occupational diseases

In this session, we will tell you that many diseases develop at work places around the world due to factors and agents present at the work place. We call them “work related diseases”. We will discuss this expression and another concept with a slightly different meaning; occupational disease. When the session is completed, you will know that the definition of an occupational disease varies widely from country to country, – and that even laws and regulations concerning occupational diseases differ widely. Furthermore, you will know that only a small fraction of work-related diseases will give the sufferer or his/her family an economic compensation, and that the beneficial systems have both advantages and disadvantages.


Sign up before 16 November 2020, for our free and optional online exam and get formal credits (3 ECTS) at the University of Bergen after course completion. After registering, you will receive practical information about the exam in emails directly from the University of Bergen.


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We’ve also created a Glossary, which you’ll find in the download section at the end of this Step.

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Occupational Health in Developing Countries

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