The term "Occupational Health" or "Occupational Health and Safety" refers to a system much deeper than just preventing exposure to dangerous agents (Exposure Control) or providing observation to employees who work with these agents (Medical Surveillance). In fact, on a basic level, Occupational Health and Safety refers bluntly to the health and safety of employees in the workplace, safety against hazards including slips, trips and falls; to infectious agents, hazardous waste and bloodborne pathogens.
State and Federal law (Cal-OSHA and OSHA respectively) requires all employers to protect their employees from any hazards that they are exposed to in the workplace. These hazards are identified through a Job Hazard Analysis (JHA) which is a risk assessment of specific job duties. Employees must be made aware of the hazards to which they will be exposed as well as trained on those hazards, part of every employees required safety training and annual refresher training.
To address these concerns at Cal Poly Pomona, EH&S has provided a multi-tiered approach to address the requirements of an Occupational Health Program. The first tier encompasses physical hazards that generally result in an injury, the second tier encompasses health hazards that generally result in an illness or infection.
Physical Hazards: Chemical, Heat, Slips, Trips, Falls, Mechanical etc.
- Injury Illness Prevention Program (IIPP): provides information to employees regarding the basic hazards associated with the workplace. This includes slips, trips and falls but also provides information to the employee to anonymously report safety concerns without fear or reprisal.
- Heat Illness Prevention Program (Heat Stress): provides requirements and guidances for employees and supervisors that are exposed to high heat job duties such as working outdoors under direct exposure of the sun. This program includes requirements for shade, water, breaks and is supplemented by specialized heat stress training (required annually).
Health Hazards: Biohazards, Infectious Agents, Medical Waste etc.
- Exposure Control: provides a series or procedures and safe work practices to prevent exposure to dangerous agents (infectious, aerosols, etc.), how to determine exposure, post exposure detection, source control, notification of suspected cases and decontamination procedures. This document is intended to prevent exposure through safe work practices and prevent the spread of exposure if one such event occurs. Various written plans help to uphold the safe work with agents that could potentially cause exposure. These documents include the Biosafety Plan for those who work in labs, bloodborne pathogens program which is used in a variety of general settings as well as the Aerosol and Transmissible Disease (ATD) program which protects against exposure to any agents that can be spread as an aerosol and inhaled.
- Medical Surveillance*: Provides a detailed process for screening employees prior to work through a detailed risk assessment, how to handle exposure incidents, medical follow-ups, initial and annual screening for an infectious disease and vaccination policy. This can also be referred to as Medical Monitoring.
*Note that workers with authorized access to Tier 1 Biological Select Agents and Toxins (BSATs) require enrollment in a specific medical monitoring program that is specially designed for the agent(s) with which they work with.