An occupational disease is a health condition or disorder that is caused by the work environment or related activities. They can be disruptive, disabling and sometimes fatal. Examples range from hearing loss to asthma, infections and some cancers. This website brings together information, tools and resources to help employers, supervisors, safety and health practitioners and workers increase understanding and take preventative action at the workplace today, for health, success and sustainability tomorrow.
Health conditions or disorders that occur among a group of people with similar workplace exposures at a higher frequency than the rest of the population are considered to be occupational diseases. Recognizing and preventing these presents unique challenges, and requires different approaches from those that target injuries – although, at the core, the elimination or reduction of hazardous exposures and the control of risks are fundamental. The resources presented relate to the science and mechanics of prevention and are intended to serve as a helpful foundation for the development of strategies to eliminate or reduce harmful exposures, and thereby, occupational disease.
Occupational health hazards are essentially exposures to substances, energy or other phenomena that can cause short or long-term harm to people. The key is to identify their presence (by reviewing the work environment and practices), assess the potential for harm, then eliminate or control exposure to safe levels (and as low as reasonably achievable). Resources relate to common hazards and their identification, exposure assessment and control.
Although occupational diseases can affect all workers, not all workers are equally at risk, varying by type of industry, occupation, workplace and tasks. By recognizing and targeting specific occupations and industries where the risk of developing an occupational disease is elevated, exposures and conditions can be improved to reduce future incidence. Find resources by industry and/or occupation here.
Access resources for a range of internationally recognized occupational diseases, ranging from illnessesss caused by chemical, physical and biological agents to respiratory and skin diseases, musculoskeletal disorders and occupational cancer.