What Is Occupational Health?


Employers in Malaysia are regulated under the Factories and Machinery Act (FMA), 1967 and the more comprehensive Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) enacted in 1994. Even though under the  FMA 1967, the emphasis was more on safety issues, the OSHA 1994 has been putting equal emphasis on managing workplace health risk as well as a safety risk. The Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 requires all employers to provide a safe and healthy working environment and to protect others against risks which also means to minimize occurrences of occupational injuries/diseases at work so that to protect the productivity of the company.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), Occupational Health (OH) 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.  Occupational health deals with all aspects of health and safety in the workplace and has a strong focus on primary prevention of hazards. It is also emphasized to the identification and control of the risks arising from physical, chemical, ergonomic and other workplace hazards in order to establish and maintain a safe and healthy working environment.

Referring to the list of regulations, code of practices and guidelines that require OH implementation of workplace, the employer must have the policy, arrangement and system to carry out OH activities to ensure occupational health issues are legally addressed. Managing occupational related health risk is not a simple task.  It requires awareness, training and competency, proper planning, assessment, work improvement, monitoring of employees to do work without a possible work related injuries or diseases.   The process is a continuous one and must be guided properly by Professionals in OH fields.