– INDUSTRIAL MEDICINE AND SAFETY –
People who work together often get the same diseases (illnesses). For example, lung cancer is common among asbestos workers and miners. Many people who work with X-rays get skin cancer.
Most coal miners develop black lung disease after years of work in coal mines. These people probably get these diseases because of their work. In addition, accidents on the job may injure or kill workers.
For instance, farm machines sometimes injure farm workers. Construction workers sometimes fall from buildings. These injuries can be fatal.
People who work with electricity may get electric shocks. Fires sometimes kill fire fighters. Many large companies employ both industrial doctors and safety engineers to protect workers from accidents and illness on the job.
They do this in three ways.
First, doctors study the workers and their diseases. They know that certain groups of workers often have the same diseases. At the same time, safety engineers study accidents and their causes.
Second, doctors and safety engineers work together to change the machines or the job because they want to prevent accidents or illnesses.
Third, they educate workers about the dangers of their jobs. They teach the workers about safety on the job. Education is necessary for prevention.
There are many causes of accidents and illness at work. Chemicals, noise, and radiation are a few. For example, gases in mines cause accidents and poison miners. Toxic chemicals, such as lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), and silica (SİO2), made people sick in the past, and they make people sick today.
In additon, there are new chemicals, and some of them are toxic. They harm the skin, the lungs, and other internal organs such as the heart, liver, or kidnev. Industrial noise sometimes causes deafness. Many things in the workplace can cause illness or injury.
Industrial physicians and safety engineers often prevent these problems. After they find the causes, they plan and design new machines to prevent accidents in the future. They design different ways to store and transport toxic chemicals. They measure and control gases in the air. They set standards for work in dangerous situations.
For example, airport workers must cover their ears near the airplanes outside. Some workers must wear protective clothing, like eye goggles, hard hats,and safety shoes. After careful study, both doctors and safety engineers do many things to decrease the danger of injury and illness on the job. They make the work area a safe place..