News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Poor occupational health = poor global economy

Media Release

Poor occupational health equals poor global economy

Industrialised countries like New Zealand must look beyond their own backyards and work to help solve the work-related health problems of developing nations – or run the risk of economic stagnation, warns a Finnish expert.

International Commission on Occupational Health President, Jorma Rantanen says if first-world countries continue to outstrip developing nations both economically and socially, societies everywhere will be disadvantaged.

Jorma Rantanen is speaking at the Asian Conference of Occupational and Environmental Health in Wellington this week, which is bringing together over 300 international delegates to focus on the emerging health challenges in the Asia Pacific region.

He says the move to improve occupational health conditions in developing countries is more than an ethical obligation – it is imperative in order to harness the benefits of globalisation.

“All countries are part of the same global system and if one part of the system starts leaking, we all suffer. If those 2.1 billion workers in developing countries do not do well, everyone’s health and safety is threatened.”

Jorma Rantanen says the lack of occupational health services in some countries can bring effects as devastating as tuberculosis and malaria.

“When there are threats to the health of people in developing nations, there are threats to people in other countries. If conditions in developing countries were better organised and more hygienic, diseases like SARS and avian flu would be more effectively contained.”

Raising health and safety standards in developing nations would bring economic benefits to countries like New Zealand, says Jorma Rantanen.

“If we can get living standards in those countries elevated to a point where they consume as many goods and services as industrialised nations, there would be a huge demand on workforces.

“It is a bad idea to let some countries maintain poor living standards while others seek to improve theirs at the same time.”

While the traditional occupational health issues are the biggest causes of concern in developing countries, the industrialised world has modern diseases like stress, which can be fatal.

“Latest data shows cardiovascular mortality among workers who are living in a highly stressful state is up to five times greater than among workers who are not exposed to that stress.”

Jorma Rantanen says the investment in occupational health resources needs to come from both government and business if there is to be any improvement in working conditions globally.

“If you do so, at the end of the day you will see it is profitable.”

The conference is hosted by the Asian Association of Occupational and Environmental Health and is supported by the New Zealand branch of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Occupational Medicine, and the Faculty of Occupational Medicine of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, as well as a range of other occupational health professional organisations.

ACOH 2005 runs from Wednesday, May 11 to Friday, May 13 in the Wellington Convention Centre.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Howard Davis Article: A Musical Axis - Brahms, Wagner, Sibelius

Brahms' warm and exquisitely subtle Symphony No. 3 in F major, Wagner's irrepressibly sentimental symphonic poem Siegfried Idyll, and Sibelius' chilling and immensely challenging Violin Concerto in D minor exemplify distinct stages of development in a tangled and convoluted series of skirmishes that came to define subsequent disputes about the nature of post-Romantic orchestral writing well into the following century. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: A Pale Ghost Writer

Reviewed by Ruth Brassington, Richard Flanagan's new novel is about a novelist hastily ghost-writing the biography of a crook about to go to trial. The reader is kept on a cliff-edge, as the narrator tries to get blood out of his stone man. More>>

Negotiations Begin: Equal Conditions For Men & Women In Professional Football

The trade union representing New Zealand's professional footballers has initiated bargaining for an agreement securing equal terms and conditions for men and women. If negotiated, it will be the first agreement of its kind in the world. More>>

ALSO:


New Zealand Wars Commemoration: Witi Ihimaera's Sleeps Standing Moetū

The second of several articles to mark Rā Maumahara, remembering the New Zealand Land Wars. The first was a Q&A with Vincent O’Malley, author of The Great War for New Zealand: Waikato 1800–2000. More>>

ALSO:


Howard Davis Review: Conflict & Resistance - Ria Hall's Rules of Engagement

From the aftermath of war through colonisation to her own personal convictions, Hall's new CD addresses current issues and social problems on multiple levels, confirming her position as a polemical and preeminent voice on the indigenous NZ music scene. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland