Occupational and Environmental Health

Issues related to environmental and occupational health have an important role to play in emergency medicine, pediatrics, primary care practice, and the various medical specialties. Work-related or environmental exposures may be associated with symptoms experienced by a patient. The environmental exposure history of a patient may prompt necessary interventions in order to prevent potential injuries or illnesses. Work-related illnesses and injuries may necessitate physicians to make assessment of disability, impairment and workers’ compensation.

Concerns about biological or chemical terrorism, and also industrial disasters, have made it necessary for physicians that they are able to immediately identify patterns linked to exposures to primary chemical agents (for instance, nerve agents and cyanide) and biological agents (for example, anthrax).

In order to be effective, it may be necessary for physicians to know how to have a good occupational/environmental history and practical understanding of most prevalent environmentally related illnesses. Moreover, physicians can also contribute significantly towards environmental and occupational issues which are outside the purview of office practice, thereby helping prevent occupational illness amongst other employees at the workplace and supporting global environmental health.