Importance of Periodical Health Check up in Industrial Employees - Healthy worker healthy industry
Importance of Periodical Health Check up in Industrial Employees
Author – 1. Dr. Niraj Pandit, Professor, Community Medicine, SBKS MIRC, Sumandeep Vidyapeeth, Piparaia
2. Dr. Hiren Patel, Resident Doctor, Community Medicine, SBKS MIRC, Sumandeep Vidyapeeth, Piparaia
The modernisation and innovation in industries and rapid increase in chemical, hazardous, and polluting industries in recent years has not only resulted in unsafe working conditions but has created problems of occupational health hazards. The incidence of occupational diseases is much higher in developing countries than developed ones. In developing countries the workers most exposed to occupational risks are those employed in agriculture, chemical and primary extraction industries and heavy manufacturing. Quite apart from this poor equipment, heavy workload and even poisoning due to pesticide's and organic dusts take their heavy toll on workers, health and safety. Further, work related hazards are changing with the introduction of new chemical substances which pose a threat to community and workers alike. Moreover, occupational risks such as temperature (excessive heat or cold), humidity of air, dampness inducing chill, low air movements and defective lighting in the work place affect the workers. Further other factors like noise, sustained vibration, excessive uncontrolled ionizing radiation, high voltage electric current and abnormal air pressure produce damaging effects on certain organs of the body. Apart from this certain substances cause poisoning or disease in industry. It is, therefore, essential to take effective measures to protect the workers from such risks and dangers.
Many disease of occupational origin require months or even years for their development. Their slow development, very often leads to their non reorganisation in early stages and that is harmful to worker, that is the reason in addition to pre-employment medical check up, the periodical medical check up of worker is very necessary.
In India various Committees and Commissions were appointed from time to time by the Government of India to inquire into the problems of health of industrial workers. Health monitoring or health surveillance at work site is an integral component of health promotion (HP).As per the amendments in 1987 to the Factories Act, more and more vigilance is required to keep track of the health of the employees working in hazardous operations. Health monitoring is the forerunner of all HP activities. In today’s occupational health practice, factory medical officers have the daunting task of promoting the health of employees in industry. Health promotion concept incorporates programmes of health monitoring of employees exposed to potential hazards, general health screening, hypertension, diabetes control programmes, nutrition surveillance programme, stress management programme, fitness programme, etc. Irrespective of the type of HP programme, its potential benefits are plenty. Improvement in productivity is achieved by reducing absenteeism, improving morale of employees, improvement in the ability of performance and developing higher quality staff. HP concept establishes the fact that the organization has concern for the health and welfare of its employees. The supervision of the health of workers is specifically carried out by means of medical check-up periodically. Such periodic tests have become particularly important today because these tests help us to diagnose the earliest deviations in health and permit prevention of illness. Chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes can be detected at an early stage. Thus, occupational health service is able to supervise an important sector of the population but the supervision takes place on the spot, thus making it possible to protect and improve workers health without incurring loss of time or absenteeism which would be the case if they had to go to health centers for that purpose.
When the examination should carried out?
The frequency & content of periodical examination will depend upon the type of occupational exposure. Ordinarily workers are examined once a year. But in certain occupational exposures like lead, toxic dyes, radium monthly examination are indicated. Even daily examinations may be needed such as when irritant chemicals like dichromate. Particular care should be given to workers returning from medical leave, to assess the nature and degree of any disability and to assess suitability or otherwise of returning to the same job.
Who should carry out the periodic health check up?
Ideally the Factory Medical Officer should carry out the check up. But many time the industry is large and large number of employees are working, in such scenario they can out source the work to the agencies. They are many agencies and consultant who are working for the periodic health check up. They have full back up of laboratory, radiological, audiometry and other tests. In small industry the FMO is part-time in such scenario also the management can opt services of such agency.