Summary conclusions

Staying safe and healthy at work is important. However, not everyone realizes that exposure to things like chemicals, noise, and dust can affect our health. Cancers, respiratory illness, skin rashes, and hearing loss can be life changing diagnoses.

Two systems have critical roles to play. The occupational health and safety system focuses on workplace prevention while the healthcare system provides clinical services for the diagnosis and management of occupational disease. There are challenges related to occupational disease in both systems. We must improve both workplace prevention and clinical care.

Principles to guide the path forward include:

  • strengthening bridges between the occupational health and safety and healthcare systems
  • empowering workers at each step in the prevention and healthcare journey
  • addressing prevention needs of smaller workplaces and industries most at risk 
  • building trust in data collection and use 

To achieve this, we need a shared, focused and coordinated approach that will require:

  • strong leadership
  • clear health and safety system roles and accountabilities
  • investments in improved prevention and clinical resources
  • better data tracking

The building blocks are outlined below. See the recommendations summary following for specifics.

Recommendations summary by review topic