Prevention

Occupational diseases are, in principle, more amenable to prevention than diseases that are caused by genetic factors, lifestyle or the general environment. It is easier to intervene in workplace conditions, and there are legal and technical frameworks in the EU and its member states specifically for the work environment. For major hazards, there are occupational exposure standards that define the level under which no major health risks are expected. At the European level, these standards are proposed by  the Scientific Committee on Occupational Exposure Limits (SCOEL). For carcinogens, so-called derived maximum exposure levels are usually obtained. These describe the exposure level below which the likelihood of disease is less than a certain level, usually a lifetime excess risk of 1 in 250 (acceptable risk) or 1 in 25 000 (negligible risk). However, not all standards are up to date and the standard-setting process at the EU level is slow. Some EU member countries also have their own active standard-setting processes.

See the entire Occupational-lung-diseases Chapter