What’s the Difference Between Occupational Health and Occupational Safety?

caution cleaning in progress sign

Do you need clarification about occupational health and safety? The two terms sound similar, but they are not the same thing. What’s the difference between them? Occupational health refers to the maintenance of workers’ physical and mental well-being. This includes providing proper nutrition and rest, managing stress, and protecting against workplace hazards. On the other hand, occupational safety focuses on reducing risks at workplaces. This means preventing accidents from happening and providing resources or training to reduce negative consequences. Although both are important, each has its unique focus. This article will discuss the differences between occupational health and occupational safety and how the two work together.

Occupational Health: Promoting Wellness

The goal of occupational health is to promote physical and mental wellness. Occupational health focuses on the employee as a whole. It takes into account lifestyle choices, genetic predispositions, and mental health on top of workplace hazards. 

Occupational health deals with a variety of illnesses and conditions. One of the primary concerns for office workers is a sedentary lifestyle. A sedentary lifestyle can cause a series of negative health problems like obesity and diabetes. Occupational health seeks to reduce employees’ health risks by improving their lifestyles.

Health programs are a great way to institute occupational health. A good health and wellness program is one that your employees will use. Health programs can be personalized to fit the needs and goals of your staff. Start by asking your employees what their health goals are or what things they would like to see change in the office. Once you have their input, you can start developing the program. Here are some common examples of health programs:

  • Smoker Cessation Programs. This type of program isn’t just for smokers. It can also prevent your employees from picking smoking up.
  • Disease Management. Chronic illness may be inevitable for some employees. Offer them services, training, and therapy to deal with chronic conditions they have, like diabetes and arthritis.
  • Weightloss Programs. Try having a departmental weight loss competition with a prize for the biggest losers!

Occupational Safety: Protecting Employees

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly three million non-fatal workplace injuries occur annually. Additionally, nearly 5,000 fatal work-related injuries occur in the United States every year. The goal of occupational safety is to reduce these numbers by removing or mitigating hazards in the workplace.

In the 1970s, President Richard Nixon signed into law the Occupational Safety and Health Act which created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  OSHA oversees nearly every industry in the United States, including the construction industry and the automotive industry. OSHA requires employers to create a safe workplace that is free of hazards. To do this, OSHA develops safety regulations and requirements that businesses must follow. Failure to institute these guidelines and violations results in a civil penalty of up to $7,000 for each violation.

How Occupational Health and Safety Work Together

Although they are different, occupational health and occupational safety work together to create a culture of health and safety. Both the health and safety of employees should be a priority for employers. Employees that feel like their health and safety are important to their employer are more productive and motivated. Health and safety provisions also boost morale across the office. Improving the health and safety of your office will also lower both your healthcare costs and worker’s compensation costs, as employees are less likely to be injured on the job. By utilizing both occupational health principles and occupational safety regulations, employers can create the best work environment for their employees. 

Navigating the nuances of occupational health and occupational safety can be difficult. Luckily, Work Health Solutions is here to help you create a healthy and safe workplace for your employees. Reach out to Work Health Solutions today to get started!

How Can We Help?

Work Health Solutions offers comprehensive healthcare solutions for your medical needs. Our qualified team treats patients and employers alike and always provides top-quality service. Our quality service is backed by years of experience working with academic and research institutions, corporate healthcare, Fortune 25 companies, small governments, and local businesses. Reach out today with any questions about how we can assist you!

Work Health Solutions

Work Health Solutions

About Us

Work Health Solutions is dedicated to preserving a safe work environment and improving existing programs and care for local, regional and national organizations.

Share This Post


Recent Posts

Speak with an Occupational Health Specialist

If you have questions about Work Health Solution's occupational health services or if you need to purchase bulk medical supplies, such as COVID-19 testing kits, please contact us.

Get in Touch