Occupational safety and health

Occupational safety and health (OSH), also commonly referred to as occupational health and safety (OHS), occupational health,[1] or occupational safety, is a multidisciplinary field concerned with the safety, health, and welfare of people at occupation. These terms also refer to the goals of this field,[2] so their use in the sense of this article was originally an abbreviation of occupational safety and health program/department etc.

This painting depicts a woman examining her work on a lathe at a factory in Britain during World War II. Her eyes are not protected. Today, such practice would not be permitted in most industrialized countries that adhere to occupational health and safety standards for workers. In many countries, however, such standards are still either weak or nonexistent.

The goal of an occupational safety and health program is to foster a safe and healthy occupational environment.[3] OSH also protects all the general public who may be affected by the occupational environment.[4]

Globally, more than 2.78 million people die as a result of workplace-related accidents or diseases, translating to one death every fifteen seconds. There is an additional 374 million non-fatal work-related injuries annually. It is estimated that the economic burden of occupational-related injury and death is nearly four per cent of the global Gross Domestic Product each year.[5] The human cost of this adversity is enormous.

In common-law jurisdictions, employers have a common law duty, (also called duty of care) to take reasonable care of the safety of their employees.[6] Statute law may, in addition, impose other general duties, introduce specific duties, and create government bodies with powers to regulate occupational safety issues: details of this vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction.


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This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Occupational safety and health, and is written by contributors. Text is available under a CC BY-SA 4.0 International License; additional terms may apply. Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.