Dr. Shirley Thompson -Natural Resources Institute
204‑474‑7170  |  s_thompson@umanitoba.ca

Community and Worker Health and Safety

Some elements of healthy communities appear universal, although the experience is context- and situation-dependent, reflecting local social and personal factors such as geography, ecology, age, gender, and culture (Prescott-Allen 2001). In the “voices of the poor” research (Narayan et al. 1999; 2000) findings from interviews of poor people in 23 countries showed five common elements which made the difference between a good versus bad life. These elements are: 1) the necessary material for a good life (including secure and adequate livelihoods, income and assets, enough food at all times, shelter, furniture, clothing, and access to goods); 2)  health (including being strong, feeling well, and having a healthy physical environment); 3) good social relations (including social cohesion, mutual respect, good gender and family relations, and the ability to help others and provide for children); 4) security (including secure access to natural and other resources, safety of person and possessions, and living in a predictable and controllable environment with security from natural and human-made disasters); and 5) freedom and choice (including having control over what happens and being able to achieve what a person values doing or being). Secure and adequate livelihoods, cultural and spiritual activities, and the ability to provide for their children were universally important.

Occupational health and safety

Occupational health is closely linked to public health and health systems development. This section provides resources for university students to safely learn. Each year 160 million new cases of work-related illness occur and take 1.7 million lives (3% of all deaths), according to the World Health Organization. Selected occupational risks are responsible worldwide for 37% of back pain, 16% of hearing loss, 13% of chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, 11% of asthma, 8% of injuries, 9% of lung cancer, and 2% of leukaemia and caused 850,000 deaths worldwide. Needlestick injuries accounted for about 40% of Hepatitis B and C infections and 4.4% of HIV infections in health care workers. Studies in industrialized countries demonstrate that psychosocial hazards and work-related stress affect one fifth of the working population.