Occupation Health Nursing

Occupation Health

Scope of Occupational Health Problems

  • Every 5 seconds a worker is injured
  • 10,000,000 injuries a year
  • 100,000 deaths a year
  • Every 10 seconds a worker is disabled
  • Incidence of work-related injuries increasing


  • 1/3 of life at work
  • Lost time from illness and injury
  • Primary care in occupational setting
  • Increase the proportion of worksites that have health services (Healthy People, 2010).



From U.S. records.

  • In 1888, factory owner employed a nurse to care for coalminers and their families.
  • With growth of industry, around beginning of 20th century, nurses were employed to prevent spread of infectious disease like tuberculosis and to address health related problems.

DEFINITION Of Occupational Health :

Is the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental and social well-being of workers in all occupations by preventing departures from health, controlling risks and the adaptation of work to people, and people to their jobs (ILO/WHO 1950)



According to American Association of occupational Health Nursing (AAOHN)

“OHN is the specialty practice that provide for and delivers health and safety service to employees, employee populations and community groups. The practice focus on prevention and protection from occupational and environmental hazards (AAOHN).


Objectives: OHS

  • To maintain and promote workers health and working capacity
  • To improve working environment and work to become conducive to safety and health
  • To develop a working organization which supports health and safety of work and promote positive social climate that may enhance the productivity


Occupation health nurse (OHN) Educational preparation

  • Basic skill such as communication fundamental physical assessment & counseling skill & basic knowledge of such subjects as pathophysiology, health education and rehabilitation
  • Clinical specialist occupational health nurse: advance physical assessment, epidemiology, occupational health, safety toxicology, research, computer, management and advance technology (such program requires a master’s and education).


Scope of practice

  • The practice of OHNs focuses on the whole individual, not just a particular illness or injury.
  • A holistic approach to health is an appropriate philosophy for occupational health nursing practice.
  • The nurse takes a primary health care approach; viewing workers as health individuals & facilitating that health process by helping them avoid illness & injury.
  • Occupational health nurses must be prepared to deliver nursing care to workers who may have problems with oxygen transport, nutritional status, chemical abuse, mobility, coping, & other physiologic & psychological manifestations of altered homeostasis.
  • Health care is not the primary product of the organization, so the occupational health nurse must be able to provide managers with essential data that document the need for the provision of health care services to employees, identify not only & occupational but also non occupational risks affecting the employees health & productivity.
  • The practice of O.H.N. requires an integration of public health principles because of the inter-relatedness of the community, the workplace, workers.
  • The goals & objectives of an occupational health program therefore, will require utilization of public health skills of plan & manage appropriate health programs for the working adults population that take into account their impact on workers families & the community.

Organizations For OHS

Organizations For OHS


Organizations For OHS



Functions of Occupational Health Nurse

1. Administration & management functions:

  • Authority, responsibility, accountability for decision marking & action.
  • Planning, implementing, and evaluating the occupational health services.
  • Maintenance of occupational health records,
  • Development & maintenance of an occupational health nursing policy.
  • Development procedures manual, training, and education supervising auxiliary health personnel.
  • Emergency procedures, cooperation with the government occupational health regulatory bodies.

2. Environmental surveillance:

  • Monitoring and survey the work environment for health hazards and work toward establishing cause & effect relationships between health and illness or injury.
  • OHN is the first health professional in the workplace to recognize danger areas & risks to health (epidemiological study).
  • Evaluating which areas of the workplace have higher or lower than expected illness or injury rates, what kinds of illness or injuries occur, the timing of incidents the possible reasons why?
  • Potential stressors, hazardous equipment, & suspected irritants should be routinely and regularly monitored.
  • The nurse needs to share these environmental observations and/or recommendations with management & seek solutions.
  • Primary prevention in health care is one way to provide cost effective health care since the occupational health nurse can develop & implement health care programs that provide screening, education & counseling to workers, thus detesting risks to health & intervening before illness results.

3. Direct nursing care

4. Health education & health promotion

5. Research



1. Occupational health physician

2. Occupational nurse

3. Industrial hygienist

4. Safety engineer

5. Work organization specialist

6. Psychologist

7. Counselor

8. Physiotherapist

9. Researcher

Occupational hazards



there are major health problems-about 65% of occupational disease Occupational hazards affecting skin

1. Mechanical injuries: friction , trauma , pressure.

2. Chemical: absorption of toxic material through skin-local or system response

3. Physical : extreme temp or radiation

4. Biological hazards-bacteria, fungi, parasite or virus


Indicators of Psychological Health Problems

  • Increased absenteeism
  • Mood changes
  • Increase in minor accidents
  • Fatigue or general decrease in energy
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Frequent stress-related illnesses
  • Bloodshot or bleary eyes


Common eight groups of occupation diseases / injuries

1.Allergic and irritant dermatitis.

2. Asthma and COPD.

3. Fertility and pregnancy abnormalities.

4. Hearing loss

5. Infectious disease

6. Low back disorders.

7. Musculoskeletal disorder of upper extremities.

8. Traumatic injuries (fatal, nonfatal occupation injuries)


Nursing Interventions at the Worksite

Primary prevention

  • Health promotion
  • Prenatal care
  • Risk reduction
  • Immunizations
  • Injury prevention
  • Use of personal protective gear


  • Pre-employment screening
  • Periodic screening
  • Environmental screening


  • Prevent the spread of communicable diseases
  • Prevent complications of acute and chronic illnesses
  • Assess fitness to return to work.

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