In the current times of increased global competition amongst industries to capture global share of business segments, no Industrial House or company management can afford to ignore the issue of Health & Safety of it”s one important resource- Human Resource.

Industries of the 21st Century have to focus and monitor all processes in their establishment setup. To be brief, Occupational Health Monitoring will be an important area of concern for all the stakeholders like Regulatory Governmental bodies, Industrial Management’s, Trade Unions and Occupational health Physicians. Comprehensive, needbased and scientifically driven Occupational Health Monitoring will have to be undertaken rigorously for it would lower Industries”s Health care costs, decrease absenteeism and improve performance. Occupational Health Monitoring would also attract and retain the Key Human resources and enhance the Public image of the Industry in eyes of all the stakeholders.

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH MONITORING

Broadly speaking, Occupational Health Monitoring would encompass three main components:-

A) Environmental Monitoring
B) Biological Monitoring
C) Physical Monitoring of the Health of employees (Medical Surveillance)

While Environmental monitoring (Including Industrial Hygiene) will form the base of all Occupational & Safety programmes in an industry, Biological Monitoring and Physical Health monitoring of employees at work will the sole responsibility of the Occupational Physician.

Occupational Health Monitoring is a continuo, sustained process that would need a multi disciplinary approach. The Process would involve a prime activities that would have to be timely carried out by Occupational Health Physician having complete knowledge of hazards at workplace.

Prime activities for Occupational Health Monitoring:-

1. Pre-employment Medical Examinations (Keeping in mind the Job to be done by the employee)
2. Periodic Medical Examinations
3. Pre-retirement Medical Examinations

4. Specialized Medical Examinations;-
a) Executive Health Checkups
b) Family Health Checkups
c) Medical Camps

5. Health promotional and wellness programmes

6. Screening of vulnerable groups of employees for a previously recognized disease or abnormal physiological or pathological condition at a stage where timely medical intervention can slow, halt or reverse the progression of the disease.

While undertaking all the above activities, the Occupational Physician can:-

(A) Help Company Managements recognize immediate or latent health problems at workplace
(B) Sort or filter out which of these health problems that could worsen by the work or any of it’s subcomponents
(C) Advice or counsell on prevention and control of health hazards at work

It is obvious that the Occupational Health Physician will give top and urgent priority to all local and national Statutory Health provisions while monitoring Health of employees especially if they are exposed to certain hazardous substances ( like dusts, Chemicals and metals)

The Occupational Health Physician will have to be aware of :-

(I) The business operations
(II) Management skills for communicating and convincing all stakeholders
(III) Knowledge and application of statutory regulations and legislations to work place issues
(IV) A crystal clear understanding of current health hazards that are arising at workplace amongst the vulnerable employees .
(V) Assessment of risks related to health of individuals and various groups ( including the neighboring community)

Economic implications of Occupational Health Monitoring:-

While undertaking Occupational Health Monitoring, the OSH Team would have to keep in mind other related issues like :
1. Costs of sickness absenteeism
2. Costs of accidents at workplace
3. Costs of Diseases ( Life style diseases like Hypertension, Diabetes,Thyroid)
4. Compensation costs ( owing to illness not regulated by provisions like Backache, Noise induced hearing loss)
5. Loss to Management owing to premature retirement of various skilled workers
6. Loss of productivity
7. Costs due to personal injury to worker
8. Loss due to work accidents

All though the above costs are difficult to quantify and ascertain, they can be helpful in influencing the Managements in realizing the worth and value of Occupational Health Monitoring. In view of all the above facts, Occupational Health Monitoring is increasingly being considered as a part of Company”s agenda. This provides the Occupa-tional Health Physician a tremendous opportunity to perform and give value to his company.

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 Bio-Data
Dr Jagdish R Kamath a Medical Graduate has a Post Graduate Diploma in Hospital Management. He also possess Post Graduate Certification in Health Management and Industrial Health.

Dr. Kamath is actively associated with various professional bodies and has initiated many programmes and activities for their growth. He has to his credit organization of form National Level Conference related to Health Sector.