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Occupational health as we know it today is largely a product of the late 20th century. With strong backing from labour and other social movements, the governments of most then-industrial countries adopted legislation in the 1960s and 1970s that enabled the setting of standards to protect workers and encouraged research to develop a scientific understanding of the causes and prevention of work-related illness. Since the adoption of these measures, exposures to traditional industrial hazards such as dusts, fumes and vapours have fallen to low levels, classical occupational diseases like silicosis have become rare, and occupational injury rates have declined notably.
Whether because the evident success of the steps already taken has led to a sense of complacency or because of changed political fashion, there seems to be less of a sense of urgency about occupational health now than there was 50 years ago. In first decade of the 21st century, some governments began to …
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