For as long as work existed, the health of workers has been a primary goal of employers throughout the world.
It has always been known that healthy workers are the most productive, and firms have focused on optimizing their employment conditions to maximize the health of their workers and to lower their exposure to any liability as a result of health damages that may have occurred on site. The dawn of the modern era has made working conditions a primary concern for employees, as regulations have imposed high fines for companies that neglect these legal rulings. For workers, this has been beneficial, as a focus on healthcare and industrial medicine has increased the overall working conditions and individual health throughout all industries.
Benefits of Industrial Medicine
Industrial medicine evolved as a branch-off from the Industrial Revolution, as the impact of employee health became a significant influence of the bottom line of corporations. Low employee health became a drain on business expenses, as it would cause significant employee turnover and absenteeism. This, combined with the increased regulatory pressures by governments to ensure the safety of their workers, motivated employers to improve conditions. The spread of insurance liability for companies also influenced working conditions, as employers who could maintain low levels of injury among their employees would have significantly lower costs.
As such, industrial medicine is a branch of clinical medicine that is primarily focused on occupational health. This branch specializes in ensuring high standards of safety and health for employees through the use of preventative medicine and management of already existing diseases. Furthermore, properly maintained work environments have demonstrated that if employees are healthy, they are much less likely to injure themselves and other employees, as well as prevent errors on the job that could cost the company. Essentially, the work of industrial medicine is to ensure that the working environment does not damage the health of the individual and to ensure that all employees work at the maximum capacity possible under their health.
Role in Policy Making
Industrial medicine continues to be highly influential in regulation and law creation involving the workforce, as the specialized knowledge of this branch ensures that any government action does not undermine employee health. In the long run, it is in the best interest of all parties involved to maintain a healthy work environment, as the links between working conditions and health care premiums become intertwined. Employers that are able to ensure the health of their workers will face less drain on their health insurance plans in comparison to other companies, which serves as a competitive advantage in a cutthroat marketplace.
Ultimately, industrial medicine has proven vastly beneficial to workers, as it has increased working conditions and individual health throughout major industries in the United States and other developing countries. By following industry regulations that seek to improve safety and health standards, industries are able to save money and lower employment turnover. This benefits employers, as lower turnover allows employers to retain higher skilled employees without the need for retraining staff. Industrial medicine has improved business productivity and has reformed business protocols in such a way as to maximize employee health. By benefiting both parties, employees have garnered great advantages through the advent of industrial medicine.