The idea of having an area of healthcare devoted specifically to treating occupational needs is a relatively recent one.
In the past, the Northeastern United States often lacked proper ventilation, featured overcrowded floors with employees working in close proximity to dangerous machines, and a general lack of regard for workplace safety on the part of management. Today both state and federal agencies enforce industrial medicine for all companies operating in the United States, and many companies have chosen to invest heavily in preventative medicine for their employees.
As with environmental protection and prescription drug safety there is a federal mechanism in the United States specifically tasked with overseeing occupation health, safety and industrial medicine. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) operates as primarily a research entity which produces data and policy recommendations for improved health and safety in the workplace. A second government entity known as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) serves as a direct partner with NIOSH and is responsible for providing enforcement of established regulations. Both NIOSH and OSHA were created out of a sweeping piece of legislation passed in 1970 called the Occupational Safety and Health Act. It marked the first major federal bill to address national health and safety concerns and ushered in a new era of accountability in the workplace.
Workplace Health Services
One of the emerging features in occupational medicine is the utilization of health and wellness services by companies, both small and large, across the United States. Typically these services can include screenings, nutritional counseling, consultations with a nurse or physician, group exercise goals, incentive programs, in addition to other services. There is a significant amount of research to support the use of these strategies related to an associated drop in insurance claims and missed work days due to illness or injury.
There are a number of occupational wellness companies that have emerged in recent years to offer preventative medical services to employees. These companies serve to ensure the overall health and safety of employees, especially those who work in labor intensive industries. Investing in industrial medicine not only benefits employees, but it benefits the employer as many insurance companies will accommodate their customers who prove that they have a comprehensive occupational medicine program in place for its employees.
Investing in preventative medication is also beneficial to the company as it will ensure productivity in the workplace. Companies that provide preventative services will be safeguarded against illnesses that can often spread throughout employees and impact the rate at which work is completed.