Definitions

occupational

occupational therapy

Use of activities to promote health and independence, particularly after the acute phase of illness. Such therapy is often vital for reorienting patients unable to work for long periods. Occupational therapists assess patients' abilities, tailor programs to restore physical function, and devise ways to help those with permanent limitations carry out everyday functions. Seealso physical medicine and rehabilitation.

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Activities that seek to minimize or to eliminate hazardous conditions that can cause bodily injury. Occupational safety is concerned with risks in areas where people work: offices, manufacturing plants, farms, construction sites, and commercial and retail facilities. Public safety is concerned with hazards in the home, in travel and recreation, and in other situations that do not fall within the scope of occupational safety.

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Political body of the French Revolution that controlled France during the Reign of Terror. It was set up in April 1793 to defend France against its enemies, foreign and domestic. At first it was dominated by Georges Danton and his followers, but they were soon replaced by the radical Jacobins, including Maximilien Robespierre. Harsh measures were taken against alleged enemies of the Revolution, the economy was placed on a wartime basis, and mass conscription was undertaken. Dissension within the committee contributed to the downfall of Robespierre in July 1794, after which it declined in importance.

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or I-O psychology

Application of the concepts and methods of experimental, clinical, and social psychology to the workplace. I-O psychologists are concerned with such matters as personnel evaluation and placement, job analysis, worker-management relations (including morale and job satisfaction), workforce training and development (including leadership training), and productivity improvement. They may work closely with business managers, industrial engineers, and human-resources professionals.

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or occupational medicine

Branch of medicine dealing with workers' health and the prevention and treatment of diseases and injuries in the workplace. Workplace hazards include exposure to dangerous materials including asbestos and coal dust, radiation exposure, and machinery capable of causing injuries ranging from minor to life-threatening. Industrial medical programs mandate protective devices around machines' moving parts, proper ventilation of work areas, use of less toxic materials, containment of production processes, and protective equipment and clothing. Good industrial medical programs improve labour-management relations, increase workers' overall health and productivity, and reduce insurance costs.

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Academic and vocational preparation of students for jobs involving applied science and modern technology. It emphasizes the understanding and practical application of basic principles of science and mathematics, rather than the attainment of proficiency in manual skills that is properly the concern of vocational education. The goal of technical education is to prepare graduates for occupations that are classified above the skilled crafts but below the scientific or engineering professions. People so employed are frequently called technicians. Seealso employee training.

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Illness associated with a particular occupation. The Industrial Revolution's long working hours, dim light, lack of fresh air, and dangerous machinery fostered illness and injury in general, but certain occupations (e.g., mining) carry particular risks (e.g., black lung, a type of pneumoconiosis). Twentieth-century innovations (including use of new chemicals and radioactive materials) caused an increase in certain cancers (e.g., leukemia and bone cancer in workers exposed to radiation) and injuries. So-called “sick buildings” (in which pathogens grow in air circulation systems) contribute to health problems among office workers. Occupational medicine also covers work-related emotional stresses. Seealso asbestosis; industrial medicine.

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