JPMC screens over 1,000 employees
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
OVER 1,000 employees from more than 20 companies have undergone occupational health screenings at Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC) since the services were introduced in June last year.
Senior Medical Officer in Occupational Health at JPMC’s Outpatient Department Dr Nayake Balalla said that they are expecting more than 1,600 employees this year to undergo the screenings as more than 10 companies have already registered for the said screenings as of April, Dr Balalla said.
Those who had undergone the occupational health screenings came from a range of industries including oil and gas, telecommunications, automobiles, financial institutions, waste management and service providers.
The senior medical officer called the number of registrations “a good sign” as it showed that awareness about the importance of occupational health was on the rise in Brunei.
Dr Balalla added the centre had also received several requests from companies for talks about occupational health and safety in an office environment.
“This tells us that they are quite interested and keen to know and create awareness among their employees about this,” he said.
According to Dr Balalla, common occupational health risks in an office environment include those related to ergonomics – such as neck, back and shoulder pains from long periods of sitting without breaks – and “sick building syndrome”, a condition which causes eye and respiratory infections and headaches from working in an office with poor ventilation.
However, Dr Balalla said it would be alright if office workers underwent occupational health checks about once in three years, particularly if they were in the younger age bracket.
“(The required frequency of occupational health screenings) depends on the job category – for example, if you’re exposed to radiation or hazardous chemicals at work, then you should undergo them more frequently, at least once a year,” he said.
According to available Ministry of Health (MoH) statistics, the most common occupational and work related disease in Brunei is noise-induced deafness, with 36 cases recorded in 2014 and 45 cases recorded in 2013.
A total of 105 work accidents were reported to the MoH Occupational Health Division in 2014, with the majority of them occurring at construction sites.
Based on information provided on the International Labour Organisation (ILO) website, more than 2.3 million deaths result from occupational accidents or work-related diseases annually, while 317 million accidents occur on the job per year.
The Brunei Times