Occ health: Occupational health prevention, promotion and outreach programs

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH PREVENTION

There are 4 levels of prevention
1) Primordial occupational health prevention
This level represents the stage before disease is present and before complications are present. It has as goal the prevention of disease and injuries. Examples are occupational health legislation such as the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1993 (OHSA) and Mine Health and Safety Act (MHSA) that stipulates preventative actions.
2) Primary occupational health prevention. This stage also represents the time prior to the presence of disease and injuries or their complications. It entails active interventions such as immunisations and occupational health and safety promotion. Health promotion material has better accessability of late and transferral of occupational health and safety information via the internet is readily available. There are however many employees that do not have access to internet. An example of immunisations would be the immunisation of veterinary surgeons against rabies.
3) Secondary occupational health prevention takes place when the occupational disease is already present. The intervention targets the reduction of morbidity and the prevention of complications. An example would be to get an employee with high lead blood levels into hospital and reduce the blood levels by means of chelating agents. One of the challenges of occupational health is that by the time the diagnosis of an occupational disease is made, the complications are unavoidable. Many occupational diseases are incurable. Examples include noise-infuced hearing loss, asbestosis and other pneumoconiosis.
4) Tertiary occupational health prevention: this stage takes place when the disease or injury and its’ complications are already present. The goal of tertiary prevention is the prevention of disability and mortality.

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH PROMOTION
Health promotion falls into the primary prevention category. It can utilise the following tools:
– Dedicated time-off the day after Worker’s Day
– Electronic messages
– Occupational and safety pamphlets
– Occupational health and safety posters
– Health theatres
– Special guest speakers
– Occupational health and safety exhibitors
– Social media engagements
– Health screenings
– Refreshments
– Competitions
– Banners
– Memorabilia such as golf shirts
– Exhibitions and health screenings by medical aids

STAGES AND TASKS IN DEVELOPING A HEALTH PROMOTION INTERVENTION
– Problem definition
– Solution generation
– Capacity generation
– Implementation
– Process, impact and outcome evaluation

PROBLEM DEFINITION
There are many health problems that can be addressed by means of a health promotion program. Epidemiological data can be collected in order to determine the size of the problem
– HIV prevalence among employees
– Lifestyle modifiable diseases prevalence such as gout, hypercholestroleamia, hypertension, diabetes
– Mental health problem prevalence and sick leave utilisation
– Non-utilisation of PPE prevalence
– Drug and alcohol abuse prevention prevalence

SOLUTION GENERATION
A typical occupational health and safety prevention program to reduce non-utilisation of PPE will include
– Education of workers on the dire consequences of not wearing PPE
– Social mobilisation of social role models such as soapie stars or actors to make the use of PPE more attractive. The serious message can be transmitted in a fun way.
– Incentives for good behaviour

CAPACITY BUILDING
For any health promotion program resources are needed. These resources include access to funding, facilities, human resources but most importantly politcal will of top management. Top management will give their support when they see the positive spin-offs in the reduction of injuries and disabilities.

IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PLAN
Planning must be done in order to achieve the health promotional goal.

EVALUATION
You will know you have been successful when you see positive outcomes in terms of impact. The impact can either be measured by qauntitative means utilising statistical sampling methodology. Informal qualititive data gathering of key stakeholder impressions can also give valuable insight into the impact the program had

Any health promotional program has a ceiling in terms of what it can achieve. The trick is to keep the programs fresh by changing the presentation and the venues on a yearly basis. The element fo surprise is crucial to the success of the program