Occupational Hygiene

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Hygiene, Occupational


the branch of hygiene that studies the influences on the human body of work processes and the production environment and develops hygienic norms and measures for ensuring favorable work conditions and preventing occupational diseases.

Scientific research on occupational hygiene is conducted along several principal lines: the physiology of labor processes, the influence of the labor processes on the body, and elaboration of measures to prevent fatigue and to raise the productivity of labor; industrial toxicology (working out permissible limits of concentration of toxic substances in the production environment and measures for preventing occupational intoxication); the study of various types of industrial dust, including establishment of permissible concentration limits in the air of industrial premises and methods of preventing occupational dust diseases (pneumoconioses); the study of the effect on the body of physical factors of the production environment (such as meteorological conditions, ionizing radiation, noises and vibrations, and electromagnetic waves of radio frequencies); and the working out of preventive measures against occupational diseases that may be produced by these factors.

Occupational hygiene is closely connected with the scientific organization of labor. Research in occupational hygiene uses physical and chemical methods in studying the production environment; physiological, pathophysiological, morphological, and biochemical methods in studying the mechanism of the effect of production factors on the body; and clinical and statistical methods in studying the state of health and morbidity of workers. Occupational hygiene research is conducted by experiment in laboratories and directly in production facilities.

After the Great October Socialist Revolution, legislation was worked out for the protection of labor, and organs were created to ensure monitoring of the enforcement of that legislation. In 1923, on the initiative of V. A. Obukh, the Moscow Institute of Occupational Hygiene and Occupational Diseases, the first such institution in the USSR, was created; it became part of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR in 1944. Subsequently, institutions of labor hygiene were created in Moscow, Leningrad, Gorky, Sverdlovsk, Kiev, Kharkov, Donetsk, Tbilisi, and elsewhere, and labor protection institutes were set up in the system of the All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions; these labor protection institutes conduct research on safety techniques, ventilation, and other technical problems of labor protection. In addition, problems of labor hygiene are worked out by sub-departments and laboratories of medical institutes. Labor hygiene topics in the USSR are illuminated in the monthly journal Gigiena truda i professional’nye zabolevaniia (Occupational Hygiene and Occupational Diseases; 1957—).

In Poland, the German Democratic Republic, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Hungary, and Yugoslavia, multidisciplinary scientific research institutes have been created that work out problems of occupational hygiene and occupational pathology. In capitalist nations research on occupational hygiene and occupational pathology is conducted in individual laboratories and in divisions of clinics that are part of various industrial and commercial firms; in Finland and Sweden complex institutes are in operation on government budgets.


Rukovodstvo po gigiene truda, vols. 1-3. Moscow, [1961-] 1965.
Navrotskii, V. K. Gigiena truda. Moscow, 1967.


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