An occupational disease is any chronic ailment that occurs as a result of work or occupational activity.
Some well-known occupational diseases include:
- Asbestosis among asbestos miners and those who work with friable asbestos insulation.
- Black lung (Coalworker’s pneumoconiosis) among coal miners
- Byssinosis among workers in parts of the cotton textile industry
- Carpal tunnel syndrome among persons who work in the poultry industry and who do data entry.
- Lead poisoning affecting workers in many industries that processed or employed lead or lead compounds. Known under various names from ancient times, these diseases were first documented as specifically due to lead by Samuel Stockhausen in 1656.
- Radiation sickness among persons who work in the nuclear industry.
- Silicosis is an often fatal lung disease caused by breathing dust containing crystalline silica particles.
Protection of the health and welfare of persons employed in the mines and prevention of occupational diseases is the concern of the Central Government The objective is regulated by the Mines Act, 1952 administered by Directorate General of Mines Safety. Occupational Health is one of the inspection cadre in Directorate General of Mines Safety.
Occupational Health cadre formerly known as Industrial Hygiene cadre was constituted as Medical Inspectorate in 1942 to administer the health and welfare provisions under Mines Act and Rules. The work of the officers in Occupational Health Cadre in Directorate General of Mines Safety relates to the enforcement of the provisions of Mines Act relating to the health, first aid, sanitation and welfare in mines; overseeing the medical surveillance exercised by the mines management; acting as secretary / convener of various medical boards under the statutes and carrying out occupational health and hygiene investigations and surveys.
Necessity- The persons employed in the mines are exposed to a number of health hazards at work which can adversely affect their health. Some of the important hazards are dust, noise, toxic metals, heat, humidity vibration etc. In recent times there has been increasing awareness about occupational diseases such as Coal Worker’s Pneumoconiosis, Silicosis, Manganese Poisoning, Hearing Impairment etc. caused by exposure to health hazards at work. The occupational diseases are known to cause permanent disablement and there is no effective treatment available. However, most of occupational diseases can be prevented by adopting proper occupational health measures and control of hazards at work place.
The 7th Conference on Safety in Mines recommended that each mining company should create Occupational Health Services. The 8th , 9th & 10th Conference on Safety in Mines recommended further measures on medical, environmental and occupational health surveillance of persons employed in the mines including training of medical officers in occupational health and use of ILO Classification.
Functions of Occupational Health Division
Following diseases have been notified as the diseases connected with mining operations for the purpose of sub-section (1) of Section 25 of the Mines Act, 1952:-
S.R.O. 1306, dated the 21st July,1952
- 1. Silicosis
- 2. Pneumoconiosis
S.R.O. 3109, dated the 18th December, 1956
- Manganese Poisoning – Nervous type
S.0.. 2521 , dated the 26th June,1986
- 1. Asbestosis
- 2. Cancer of lung or the stomach or the pleura and peritoneum (i.e. mesothelioma)
Following diseases have been proposed to notify as a disease connected with the mining operations for the purpose of sub-section (1) of Section 25 of the Mines Act, 1952:-
- 1. Noise induced hearing loss.
- 2. Contact Dermatits caused by direct contact with chemicals.
- 3. Pathological manifestations due to radium or radioactive substances.