Occupational Medicine is a medical specialty where highly-trained specialists focus on the effects of work on health and (conversely) health on work. It understands the full range of workplace and environmental hazards (chemical, physical, biological & psychosocial), associated risks of exposure to such hazards, and how these may cause an adverse impact on biological health, such as injury or illness. It covers all occupational/work groupings, and understands the nature of such work in terms of inherent task requirements, environment, and human ergonomics.
Environmental Medicine is one important competency of training and practice for an Occupational and Environmental Physician (OEP). Although environmental health is an integral part of the scope of practice of OEPs, AFOEM defines environmental medicine in the context of that practised by OEPs as following: "Environmental medicine is the prevention, research, investigation, assessment and treatment of human health impacts of industrial activities (including primary industry) on the environment beyond the confines of the industrial site."
Work and the environment are significant in the life of most adults, and all employees have the right to a safe and healthy working environment. Work-related illness and injury can have dramatic financial and social consequences, and have significant impacts on work productivity. The ageing population, rising healthcare costs, and the increasing cost of work-related disability all point to an increasing need for OEPs. The prominence of environmental issues has increased recently, along with the appreciation of the impact of environmental issues on workers’ health. This has correspondingly increased the demand for the specialised knowledge of environmental issues OEPs are able to provide. At the present, there are over 400 OEPs practicing throughout Australia and New Zealand, in cities, towns and rural areas.
This website is designed to provide information and resources for Fellows and Trainees of the Faculty, as well as for health professionals who are interested in specialising in Occupational or Environmental Medicine.
AFOEM President - Dr David Beaumont