Occupational safety and health (OSH) is a cross-disciplinary area concerned with protecting the safety, health and welfare of people engaged in work or employment. The goals of occupational safety and health programs include to foster a safe and healthy work environment. OSH may also protect co-workers, family members, employers, customers, and many others who might be affected by the workplace environment.
Occupational safety and health can be important for moral, legal, and financial reasons. All organisations have a duty of care to ensure that employees and any other person who may be affected by the companies undertaking remain safe at all times. Moral obligations would involve the protection of employee's lives and health. Legal reasons for OSH practices relate to the preventative, punitive and compensatory effects of laws that protect worker's safety and health. OSH can also reduce employee injury and illness related costs, including medical care, sick leave and disability benefit costs. OSH may involve interactions among many subject areas, including occupational medicine, occupational hygiene, public health, safety engineering, industrial engineering, chemistry, health physics, ergonomics and occupational health psychology.
Since 1950, the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have shared a common definition of occupational health. It was adopted by the Joint ILO/WHO Committee on Occupational Health at its first session in 1950 and revised at its twelfth session in 1995. The definition reads: