The Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) segment covers the professional activities of Occupational Safety Engineering, Occupational Medicine and Occupational Hygiene, which, based on scientific, technical, legal and ethical information, aim to protect national human capital against the risks of accidents and illnesses at work, as well as avoiding damage to the facilities, equipment and materials in organizations.
National human capital constitutes the productive part of the population, responsible for the production of goods and services to meet the needs of the entire population, which includes children, temporary sick and permanently unproductive disabled people. In this context, SST occupies a strategic position in the development of nations and, because of that, it is highly valued in developed countries, where a Prevention Culture prevails.
The importance of OSH in the international scenario is increasing because recent studies have shown that the economic and social losses resulting from accidents and illnesses at work are much higher than previously estimated. Several researchers have pointed out innovation in Safety and Health at Work and its effective strengthening as essential for the viability of Sustainable Development.
In addition, the finding that mortality from occupational diseases is much higher than that resulting from accidents at work, led the International Labor Organization (ILO) on 28/04/2013, World Day for Safety and Health at Work, to establish priority for the prevention of occupational diseases in all Member Countries, without reducing efforts to prevent accidents at work.
In the same publication, the ILO released international statistics covering all Member Countries, showing the average annual mortality from illness at work of 86% and the average mortality from accidents at work at 14% of total work-related deaths annually. In the study International Comparison of the Cost of Accidents and Work-Related Diseases (EU OSHA, 2017), in the European Union the current relationship is a Deadly Work Accident for 60 Deadly Work Diseases.
Occupational diseases, capable of compromising all the devices, systems and organs of the body, result from repeated exposure to physical, chemical, biological, ergonomic and psychosocial agents present in the workplace. Effective prevention of occupational diseases depends on the application of Engineering Control Measures in the design stage of facilities, equipment and production processes.
Upon completing its centenary in 2019, the ILO released the publication Safety and Health at the Heart of the Future of Work, reinforcing its growing importance. There is an urgent need to strengthen the Culture of Safety and Health at Work in the country, to avoid the frequent situations of risk of accidents and illnesses to which the population is exposed at work, as well as at home, on public roads, in leisure and in transport.