Accident and disease prevention in working life: Common grounds and areas for mutual learning
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Globally, there are more than six times more fatalities caused by a poor working environment than due to occupational accidents. In this paper we compare the basic strategies involved in accident and disease prevention. We find that the basic thinking is the same. The preventive strategies involve control of hazards in a hierarchy from elimination to application of personal protective equipment. Also, the Norwegian regulation on internal control of HSE is applicable for both accident and disease prevention, involving the idea of continuous improvement. Still, the nature of the hazards differ, as well as the possible consequences. In the area of occupational safety, the hazards are usually visible and the consequences of accidents are immediate. In the area of occupational health, the hazards are often invisible and the consequences of exposure delayed. There is a potential for better integration of the two areas in practical management, and a potential for mutual learning from concepts and models in the two fields.