Three major problems or challenges for occupational medicine are discussed. Credibility is seen as a problem because of the conflict of viewpoints of industry, government and labor forced upon the industrial hygienists they employ. Suggestions to overcome this include emphasizing the positive steps taken by occupational physicians in industry to solve health problems, cooperation between occupational physicians, government, industry and labor, stimulating entry of new professionals, increasing availability of unreported or proprietary information bearing on health problems and increasing services to employees in smaller companies. The problem of occupational health manpower involves the shortage of physicians and lack of recruitment, training and retraining. NIOSH plans to strengthen its efforts in this area. The problem of institutional issues is only defined, and includes scientific uncertainty of health hazards, regulating carcinogens, regulation on an industry wide basis versus an individual agent basis, long term implications of new industrial facilities, future discounting and melding programs into a national health care system.
Occupational Health and Safety Symposia, Division of Technical Services, NIOSH, Cincinnati, Ohio