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J UOEH. 2013 Oct;35 Suppl:53-8.

[Current status of occupational health activities and the way that occupational health services should be offered to small- and medium-scale enterprises].

[Article in Japanese]

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Occupational Health Training Center, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan.


Activating occupational safety and health activities among Small- and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) is a major issue because more than 80% of Japanese workers belong to these enterprises, in which the number of workers are less than 300 people. However, as the size of the enterprise decreases, the occurrence of problems of safety and health management systems and safety and health activities increases. Reasons for this include both the limitations of investments shortages of human resources. Occupational health services in SMEs has been provided by the cooperation of the following institutions: public associations (such as Regional Occupational Health Centers, Occupational Health Promotion Centers, Japan Industrial Safety and Health Association (JISHA)), occupational health agencies which provide checkup services, health insurance associations, and regional medical services. In contrast to the low coverage of occupational health services among SMEs in Japan, there are some countries in Europe in which this coverage is almost 100%. This is because of the development of occupational health services outside the company. To show the benefits of the safety and health activities to managers of SMEs, and to motivate them to take advantage of the services, it is important to consider measurements. Also, establishing systems that provide those services, improving the quality of specialists such as occupational physicians, and educating human resources, are all necessary.

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