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Introduction to work related diseases

Introduction to work related diseases
Hello, this week we will tell you more about four large groups of diseases that can be caused by unhealthy work conditions. We will teach you about work-related lung diseases, cancer, skin diseases and musculoskeletal diseases. - Workers who are affected by some of these diseases may receive economic compensation. However, the economic side is of less importance here. More importantly, we will tell you how these diseases can be prevented. - We will also tell you a little bit about how a work-related diseases can be recognized or diagnosed, - and even try to give you some clues on the management of a worker who suffers from them.
Exposure to different kinds of dust, smoke and fumes, - both domestic and at the workplace, is the major cause of lung diseases. Lung diseases are the largest group of work-related diseases globally, - and more people die due to inhalation of particles at their work-place than due to work-related injuries. This is especially true in developing countries. There are several different work-related lung diseases, but this week we will focus on pneumoconioses, and obstructive lung diseases. - In this case we see white areas involving both lungs very extensively. This is called silicosis and this is due to extensive fibrosis due to chronic inhalation of the dust from the mining procedure.
For this to take place, the patient usually has been exposed for ten years or greater. Work-related cancer is increasing in numbers. The reason for this is the fact that increasing numbers of industries are using carcinogenic agents in production processes globally. This increase is coupled with a lack of preventive measures in many work places. Lack of knowledge about potential hazards associated with the fact that cancer develops slowly over years of exposure, has resulted in there being low levels of protection of workers. It is a very serious problem. One example is the carcinogenic substance asbestos that has caused the cancer type mesothelioma in huge numbers of workers.
Asbestos is also responsible for several other types of cancer as well as the progressive lung disease asbestosis. The International Commission on Occupational Health has set a global asbestos ban among its main priorities. Asbestos is an occupational and environmental hazard of catastrophic proportion. Each year it kills over 107,000 people worldwide, and will continue to cause millions more deaths and illnesses. The profound tragedy of the asbestos epidemic is that all the illnesses and deaths related to asbestos are entirely preventable. Safer substitutes for asbestos exist. They have been introduced successfully in many nations. The grave hazards of exposure to asbestos and the availability of safer substitute materials have led a growing number of countries to cease all import and use of asbestos.
Despite this, 125 million people still work with asbestos worldwide. Even more concerning is the fact that its use is actually increasing in developing countries. In the session about skin diseases, we will describe different skin disorders associated with work processes, such as, for example, cleaning work. You might think that hand eczema is not a very serious condition, but for a mechanic, for instance, who develops this type of problem, the condition may result in his having to stop his job due to the problems with his hands. This is a huge problem for workers in certain occupations. We will also describe a number of musculoskeletal diseases for you. Low back pain for instance, develops among a huge number of workers.
Sometimes the relationship is clearly related to working conditions. We particularly would like you to be able to learn more about this as many of these conditions can be prevented by a better organization of work. - This week we hope you will learn more about these different diseases and how they affect the lives of many workers. - We hope you will find it interesting to see these different work places, - and that you will be filled by a wish of improving the work situations. No one should be harmed at their workplace!

This week consists of four topics, followed by one discussion and a quiz. Don’t forget that you can sign up before November 16, 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. Now, let’s continue with this week’s topics:

In this session, you will learn about work-related lung diseases, a large group of diseases that affects millions worldwide. It is well documented that smoke, dust, gas, and fumes can affect respiratory health. Tobacco smoking is a major cause of lung diseases, but still 10-15 % of diagnosed lung diseases can be related to different exposures at the work place.
After this session, you will be able to tell what a work-related lung disease is, know a bit about some typical work-related lung diseases, their causes and which occupations are at risk, as well as knowing more about how these diseases can be recognized or diagnosed. You will also learn a bit about exposure measurements and how work-related lung diseases can be prevented.

In this session, you will learn about cancer, an insidious group of diseases that pose a major threat to human health. Cancer can have many different causes, including different exposures at work. After this session, you will be able to tell what a work-related cancer is, and know a bit about some typical work-related cancers, their causes and which occupations are at risk. You will also understand how hugely tragic many incidents of work-related cancers are because most of them are entirely preventable.

In this session, you will learn about work-related skin diseases. These can be defined as a preventable skin disease induced or aggravated by a particular workplace exposure. After the session, you will know that most work-related dermatoses are contact eczemas. We will teach you about the two types of contact eczema, their causes and the kinds of occupations that are at risk as well as how they can be recognized or diagnosed. We will also give you some information about preventive measures and how to manage workers with contact eczema.

Musculoskeletal diseases

In this part you will learn how musculoskeletal diseases can develop due to unfavorable work conditions. Musculoskeletal diseases are very common in occupational health. You will see some examples of work situations that can cause musculoskeletal diseases, and learn how such situations could be avoided.

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Occupational Health in Developing Countries

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