What is occupational health?

Occupational health deals with all aspects of health and safety at work and looks at how work affects our health in both positive and negative ways.

Occupational health has a strong focus on prevention and health promotion. It is a highly interdisciplinary and practice-oriented field, covering a range of areas from physical and biochemical impacts at work to health promotion measures that can increase our well-being and prevent us from taking sick leave or permanently leaving our job for health reasons.

We only have one health, whether at work or leisure, and it is therefore preferable not to make a distinction between occupational health and general health. So, for example, a person who got hand eczema at work will have problems with everyday activities at home. Another person may experience such a pleasant working environment and supportive colleagues that he gets out of his depression and is soon back to a full-time job.  

Generally speaking, work is good for most of us. It gives us a meaning in life, opportunities for mastery and personal development, togetherness and a feeling of community. It is therefore important to aim at a pleasant, safe and inclusive working environment to allow as many people as possible to have work and benefit from its positive effects.