Occupational health


1. Healthy workplaces

WHO definition : health, safety and well-being of workers and the sustainability of the workplace by considering the following, based on identified needs:

  • health and safety concerns in the physical work environment;
  • health, safety and well-being concerns in the psychosocial work environment including organization of work and workplace culture;
  • personal health resources in the workplace; and
  • ways of participating in the community to improve the health of workers, their families and other members of the community.

2. Universal health coverage of workers

Currently only 15% of workers worldwide have access to specialized occupational health services carrying out prevention of occupational risks, health surveillance, training in safe working methods, first aid and advising employers in occupational health and safety.

3. Occupational and work-related diseases

An “occupational disease” is any disease contracted primarily as a result of an exposure to risk factors arising from work activity. “Work-related diseases” have multiple causes, where factors in the work environment may play a role, together with other risk factors, in the development of such diseases.

4. Needlestick injuries

Since 2003, there has been a special project "Health Care Workers/Prevention of Needlesticks: a special pilot project to reduce the exposure to HIV and other sharps-related infections (hepatitis B and C) in health care workers associated with injections".

The project aims to raise awareness and reduce injuries in a variety of health care settings in selected countries. The project is implemented by WHO (HQ, Regional and National Offices), WHO Collaborating Centres and the International Council of Nurses, and is based on the WHO Toolkit entitled "Behaviour Change Strategy to Achieve a Safe and Appropriate Use of Injections". The Toolkit provides technical and policy guidance to health-care workers, administrators and politicians in order to promote injection safety.