[Occupational data cards as a source of information for health prevention purposes]

J Bugajska
Medycyna Pracy 2000, 51 (6): 551-61
The Polish Labour Code as well as directives of the European Union (EU) commit employers to ensure safety and health protection at work, including the use of all possible measures to reduce or eliminate risk factors occurring in the work environment, and to provide the workers with information about the extent of the risk and possibilities of its reduction. The fulfilment of this commitment is an element of the whole system for the reduction of accidents at work and rates of occupational diseases in the economically active populations. The effectiveness of the measures taken by employers depends on a number of agents, and the identification of occupation-related risk factors plays among them a key role. It is also important to define predisposition to and limitations in performing certain jobs which allows to select a suitable occupation, to direct properly the process of preparing candidates for particular jobs and to monitor health condition during employment. Activities orientated towards so called human factor in labour processes should be linked with the creation of healthy working conditions by adopting technical solutions aimed at eliminating and reducing potential health risks. In this context the establishment of an effective information system able to identify risk factors, possible hazards and/or arduousness in the work environment is of great importance. A lack of sources of comprehensive information about risk factors and hazards related to various occupations, health effects and relevant preventive interventions is a problem faced not only by Poland but also by many other countries. To this end an international team for developing a multi-language set of International Hazard Datasheets on Occupations available in the Internet has been set up on the initiative of the International Labour Organization (ILO). Due to this initiative it will be possible to distribute widely International Hazard Datasheets on Occupations and thus help people in their choice of occupation before employment, and to up-date data according to technological progress and organisational changes. International Hazard Datasheets on Occupations which are now developed the main stress is put on defining hazards with possible traumas, as well as harmful factors, including psychophysical ones. Sheets should also include information about potential, adverse health effects and necessary preventive measures. In the professional literature one may find references with broad description of problems related to different occupations and relevant legal regulations. International Hazard Datasheets on Occupations are developed in individual countries, then translated and verified in view of specific technological processes applied. They will be used by the Labour Inspection, work safety and hygiene inspectors, sanitary and epidemiological stations, those responsible for qualification of candidates who apply for admission to vocational schools, occupational medicine physicians and general practitioners. They will also be used to produce various instructions, guidebooks and recommendations on safety at work and preventive measures.

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