Occupational medicine, until 1960called industrial medicine, is the branch of medicine which is concerned with the maintenance of health in the workplace, including prevention and treatment of diseases and injuries, with secondary objectives of maintaining and increasing productivity and social adjustment in the workplace.
Therefore the branch of clinical medicine active in the field of occupational health and safety. OM specialists work to ensure that the highest standards of occupational health and safety are achieved and maintained in the workplace. While OM may involve a wide number of disciplines, it centers on preventive medicine and the management of illness, injury, and disability related to the workplace.Occupational physicians must have a broad knowledge of clinical medicine and be competent in some important fields. They often advise international bodies, governmental and state agencies, organizations, and trade unions. There are contextual links to physical medicine and rehabilitation and to insurance medicine.
Occupational medicine aims to prevent diseases and promote wellness among workers. Occupational health physicians must:
- Have knowledge of potential hazards in the workplace including toxic properties of materials used.
- Be able to evaluate employee fitness for work.
- Be able to diagnose and treat occupational disease and injury.
- Know about rehabilitation methods, health education, and government laws and regulations concerning workplace health.
- Be able to manage health service delivery.
OM can be described as:
"work that combines clinical medicine, research, and advocacy for people who need the assistance of health professionals to obtain some measure of justice and health care for illnesses they suffer as a result of companies pursuing the biggest profits they can make, no matter what the effect on workers or the communities they operate in."