From Introduction to Health and Safety at Work: The Handbook for the NEBOSH National General Certificate, Second Edition

13.1 Introduction

Occupational health is concerned with physical and psychological hazards as well as chemical and biological hazards. The physical occupational hazards have been well-known for many years and the recent emphasis has been on the development of lower risk workplace environments. Physical hazards include topics such as electricity and manual handling which were covered in earlier chapters and noise, display screen equipment and radiation which are discussed in this chapter.

However, it is only really in the last twenty years that psychological hazards have been included among the occupational health hazards faced by many workers. This is now the most rapidly expanding area of occupational health and includes topics such as mental health and workplace stress, violence to staff, passive smoking, drugs and alcohol.

The physical and psychological hazards discussed in this chapter are covered by the following health and safety regulations:

  • Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992

  • Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations 1992

  • Manual Handling Operations Regulations 1992

  • Noise at Work Regulations 1989

  • Ionising Radiations Regulations 1999.

13.2 Task and Workstation Design

13.2.1 The Principles and Scope of Ergonomics

Ergonomics is the study of the interaction between workers and their work in the broadest sense, in that it encompasses the whole system surrounding the work process. It is, therefore, as concerned with the work organization, process and design of the workplace and work methods as it is with work equipment. The common definitions of ergonomics, the man-machine interface or fitting the man to the machine...

Copyright Phil Hughes and Ed Ferrett 2005 under license agreement with Books24x7

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