Workplace health services now available at JPMC
OCCUPATIONAL health services are now available at Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC) to assess and minimise work-related diseases.
The services include comprehensive occupational health screenings, occupational health surveillance, occupational vaccination programmes, workplace job risk assessments, audits, and onsite or in-house occupational safety and health training for employees.
They also include occupational medicine clinical services for management of workers suffering from occupational and work-related diseases and injuries.
Speaking at a press conference at JPMC yesterday, Senior Medical Officer in Occupational Health at JPMC’s Outpatient Department Dr Nayake Balalla said about 2.34 million employees die annually as a result of workplace injuries and work-related or occupational diseases globally.
According to the International Labour Organisation, 14 per cent of that figure were contributed by occupational injuries, while 86 per cent were due to work-related diseases, Dr Balalla said.
Ministry of Health (MoH) data showed that there were 49 occupational and work-related diseases recorded in Brunei in 2013 (45 cases of noise-induced deafness, two cases of occupational dermatitis, one case of occupational asthma and one case of occupational lung disease), compared to 38 in 2012.
However, Dr Balalla said “the figure did not paint a clear picture” as many work-related diseases were under-reported, even on a global scale.
“There is less attention paid to work-related diseases compared to workplace accidents and injuries due to lack of awareness, under-diagnosis and under-reporting of these work-related diseases.”
He said work-related diseases were often induced by mechanical, biological, physical or chemical hazards, or ergonomics.
The “psychosocial work environment” could also be a factor, which encompasses work-related stress caused by high work demands and poor communication at work, he added.
“Deterioration and complications of occupational or work-related diseases can be minimised by early detection of these conditions by subjecting workers to a comprehensive occupational health screening process,” Dr Balalla said.
JPMC Head of Marketing Ak Danny Pg Tajuddin said occupational health screenings at JPMC would be tailored to each occupation or company, as each employee’s job hazards were different from one another.
Dr Balalla said employees of certain industries required more frequent occupational health screenings than others. “For example, radiation employees will need them more frequently, perhaps once a year.”
JPMC Hospital Administrator Chris Carvalho said occupational health and its significance needed more public attention.
“Many people are unaware that occupational health services even exist, and we want them to know that they are important,” Carvalho said.
The Brunei Times