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Roles of state and local health departments.

Davis L
Preventing occupational disease and injury, second edition. Levy BS, Wagner GR, Rest KM, Weeks JL, eds. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association, 2005 Jan; :63-72
Since the passage of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in 1970, OSHA and state labor departments that enforce workplace health and safety standards have corne to be seen by the public as the government agencies with primary responsibility for worker safety and health at the state and local levels. These regulatory agencies playa central and essential function in protecting worker health. However, enforcement of workplace safety and health regulations is only one component of a comprehensive public health approach to workplace health and safety. State public health agencies have a critical, complementary role to play in conducting surveillance of work-related diseases and injuries, investigating occupational health problems in the community, and implementing prevention activities to protect workers' health. Most adults and many adolescents spend much of their waking lives at work. It is essential to consider the impact of work on health in the overall effort to protect the health of the public. At the turn of the 19th century, the health of workers was a central concern of the social reform movement to improve public health. Working conditions and other determinants of health, such as housing and sanitation, were seen as inextricably linked. In the 20th century, occupational health fell off the public health agency agenda in many states. The passage of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970 was a public health victory, but regulation and enforcement is only one component of a comprehensive public health approach to worker safety and health. In the 21st century, we must integrate occupational health into mainstream public health practice at the state and local levels, by building occupational health capacity within state agencies, as well as new partnerships among health agencies and occupational health experts and advocates in the community.
Epidemiology; Occupational-medicine; Injury-prevention; Education; Training; Workers; Work-environment; Safety-education; Safety-measures; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Safety-monitoring; Health-programs; Health-protection; Surveillance-programs; Preventive-medicine; Humans; Men; Women; Adolescents; Public-health
Publication Date
Document Type
Levy BS; Wagner GR; Rest KM; Weeks JL.
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Source Name
Preventing occupational disease and injury, second edition
Performing Organization
Massachusetts State Department of Public Health - Boston
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division