Skip main navigation

New offer! Get 30% off one whole year of Unlimited learning. Subscribe for just £249.99 £174.99. New subscribers only T&Cs apply

Find out more

Introduction to Care of the worker

Introduction to CARE OF THE WORKER
Hello, and welcome back! This week we will tell you about occupational health services and different groups of workers who are in need of special attention or care. - We will, for instance, focus on persons with a disability, caused by an injury or disease, but who still can work. We will also discuss how to take care of the pregnant worker.
As the name implies, occupational health service is a health care service for working people. This health care requires that health personnel are familiar with activities at the work places, and can recognize risk factors for health. For instance, if it is observed that a number of workers from a sisal plant experience cuts and injuries; we cannot give advice on how to prevent this without some knowledge about their work. At the sisal plant you can see that sharp instruments are used for cutting the sisal leaves and that different machines are used that can cause injuries. This information can be used to find solutions for preventing these injuries.
All types of health personnel can and should be involved in and have competence in occupational health, as this often is quite useful. However, some personnel have occupational health as their main focus area. This is the case for personnel in occupational health services. We need to describe this type of work for you, so you can understand what they do and what types of things they work with. The tasks performed by occupational health services in different countries vary considerably. However, occupational health services differ from other health services because their major focus is on preventive initiatives. Prevention of occupational diseases and injuries is the main goal for most occupational health services.
In this coffee factory, for instance, the occupational health service can assist both employer and employees to create healthy and safe work conditions by performing different kinds of risk assessments, such as noise measurements. Another task for an occupational health service is rehabilitation. We will describe this type of work, where we try to find a work place even for disabled people. Also, we will describe the situation for a person who has reduced working capacity due to some disease or injury, but who can still contribute to the work place to some extent; maybe not 100%, but 50% perhaps.
How can such situations best be handled, and how can we inspire people to try to continue to work even though they are not as fit as they used to be? Sometimes disabled persons can be helped by getting a prosthesis for a lost leg or arm, like you can see here. Artificial arms can be very sophisticated and have hands with high function levels.
Also, help can be given by a type of aid which we call an orthosis. This is a technical support which for instance can support a leg and knee of a person who has experienced poliomyelitis. This type of help and equipment can make it possible for a person to stay at work despite their health problems.
Also, simple equipment at work can be very important to make it possible for a worker with some health problems to perform their job. A cleaner with shoulder problems can be helped by using a trolley and avoid lifting the heavy buckets. In industrial activities, like here in this meltery, it is also important to have the best equipment to perform the work - to avoid risky situations, accidents and injuries.
Some of the topics this week can have different solutions in different countries, as the legislation and worker’s rights differ from country to country. Aid for disabled, counselling and insurance systems also differ resulting in national differences. However, the issues are important. Together we can work to develop an optimal situation even for workers with health problems. These days, women are increasing in numbers at most work places. Most persons find this a good sign. However, what happens when a female worker becomes pregnant? We need to know. Some work places have factors that are unsafe for a pregnant worker. Some agents, radiation and different chemical factors for instance, can be harmful for the baby.
Other factors, such as heavy lifting, might increase the risk of abortions. In many occupations, pregnant women are exposed to several risk factors. Hairdressers, for instance, are exposed to a variety of chemicals, and are standing for most of their working hours. And how would you advise a pregnant factory worker? These questions are difficult to answer, as the legislation and rights related to pregnant workers differ from country to country. However, we still have to know something about what is best for the mother and the child, and organize a situation that is best for them both as well as for the work place.
At the end of this week we will ask you to solve some specific work place challenges, to see if you have learned something from this course. - We hope you will enjoy this week and that you will become extremely good at occupational health issues!

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

Occupational Health Services

Occupational health services for all workers has been a long-term objective of the World Health Organization. Few countries, if any, have completely lived up to this challenge. After this session, you will know that the role of occupational health services should be essentially preventive, and their activity should take into account the particular occupational hazards in the working environment as well as the problems specific to the branches they serve.

Pregnant workers

After this session, you will know that certain workplaces may have conditions that are unsafe for a pregnant worker and her unborn child, but that our knowledge about how the different exposures can affect the outcome is limited. You will also learn more about legislation and the rights of pregnant workers as well as that these differ from country to country. Despite the lack of consistency in legislation across countries and the gaps in our knowledge about specific hazards, we will try to give you some guidelines for managing pregnant workers.

Work place rehabilitation

This week you will learn about work place rehabilitation; what it is and why it is important. Two types of rehabilitation will be discussed. One is how to help a worker who develops reduced working capacity due to some disease or injury, but who can still contribute to the work place. Another type of rehabilitation is making it possible for any handicapped person to work. We can help workers at the individual level, with treatment and support improving the health and function of the worker. We can also improve the technical solutions at the work place. There is little or no work place rehabilitation in some countries and more information on the topic is needed.

Addressing occupational health issues

Here, we present some problematic work situations for you, and ask you to either answer some questions related to them, or to discuss the issue. We hope you have learned a few things in our course, so you are able to answer. We wish you good luck and hope you like the challenges.

This article is from the free online

Occupational Health in Developing Countries

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now