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Global Occupational Health$
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Tee L. Guidotti

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195380002

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195380002.001.0001

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Delivering Health Care

Delivering Health Care

(p.526) 28 Delivering Health Care
Global Occupational Health

Tee L. Guidotti

Oxford University Press

Occupational health services in industry provide health care and preventive services in order to maintain the health of all employees, not just to provide medical care for the injured or those who have been made ill by a hazard. Thus, occupational health services may be divided into curative, or treatment-oriented, and preventive services. Occupational health services may be located in the plant, or off site. A corporate medical department usually coordinates occupational health throughout the enterprise. There should be a written occupational health policy that spells out the responsibility of employers for the health of workers and the responsibility of workers to report problems. Enterprises with more than 1000 workers usually need a full-time, in-house corporate medical department. This department should have a close working relationship with safety and occupational hygiene departments and they are often combined. It is generally better that the occupational health service not be managed under the department of human resources or personnel, where hiring and termination decisions are made and insurance claims are managed. Occupational health and safety must ultimately be the responsibility of supervisors and managers in production and they must be held accountable for injuries and avoidable hazards in the work areas they manage, with support from the occupational health service. The occupational health service has to be seen by the workers as neutral and working for their interests, not as looking for ways to fire them or to deny their claims. Occupational health services should maintain detailed records on the personal health of workers and should keep them strictly confidential. Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that is compulsory for employers in many countries.

Keywords:   occupational health service, workers’ compensation, corporate medical department, occupational health policy, safety, occupational hygiene, medical records, confidentiality, human resources

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