Occupational health in South Africa.
Kistnasamy, Malcolm Barry.
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Occupational health is concerned with health in its relation to work and the working environment. This study was undertaken to present an overview of occupational health in South Africa, with national and international perspectives on the discipline, in the light of : (a) the recent commissions of enquiry into aspects of occupational health in South Africa (b) the development of the national and self-governing states (c) new strategies by the authorities in the form of decentralization and deregulation. Information on the health profile of its workers, current legislative and service provisions and on policies for economic development and urbanization is vital for health administrators, occupational health and safety practitioners and policy makers. Data was collected through the use of literature surveys and postal questionnaires to the various interested persons and groups involved with occupational health. The findings reveal that (a) an inadequate occupational health policy exists in that the responsibilities of government(s), employers, workers and health professionals are not defined (b) there is an absence of an organizational and service framework for an occupational health system in South Africa although the morbidity and mortality data are significant (with their concomitant economic and social consequences) (c) there is a lack of financial and human resources for the practice of occupational health in South Africa. Recommendations are made taking into account the developed and developing components of South Africa.