It was in the steel city of Jamshedpur in the year 1948, that three visionaries of Industrial Medicine as it was known then, nurtured an idea of establishing a national scientific forum where problems related to Industrial Medicine could be discussed. The visionaries were Lt. J.R. Kochar, Col. Najib Khan and Maj. R.C. Tarapore. It was through their relentless efforts that the ‘Society for the study of Industrial Medicine’ (SSIM) India was ceremonially baptized on 9th July 1948, with an initial founder membership of 28. At the very first meeting, these three doyens were elected as the first torchbearers of the organization.
The objectives of the society were described as:
- Stimulation of enquiry and research into causes, treatment and prevention of occupational diseases
- Guidance to industry with regards to problems of occupational medicine and hygiene; and on modern scientific principles
- To secure effective and complete organization of medical officers in the industry
- To maintain liaison with National and International Organizations interested in Occupational Health Problems
The society, not been aimed as an exclusive origination of physicians working in industry, included safety engineers, personnel and welfare officers, occupational nurses and ESIS panel doctors. As a matter of fact, it was meant for all persons connected with promotion and maintenance of health and safety of workers engaged in all types of industries, railways, armed forces and other government and public departments. Further, the industrial establishments were also invited to be institutional members.
The society since then has grown steadily in stature and strength. From a mere figure of 28 to start with, our membership is over 3000. This has been achieved by establishing branches allover the country. We have branches at Ahmedabad, Andhra Pradesh, Ankleshwar, Delhi, Dhanbad, Duliajan, Goa, Haryana, Jamnagar, Jamshedpur, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Mumbai, Orissa, Pune, Surat, Tamil Nadu, Thane Raigad, Vadodara, Vapi Silvassa, West Bengal & Vidarbha. With a view to enlarging the scope of activities and in conformity with the modern trend, the name of the society underwent a change in 1970, to its present name – ‘Indian Association of Occupational Health’ (IAOH).
IAOH is committed to enable occupational health professionals to make India’s work places healthy, safe and green – free from the ill effects of hazards, by evolving effective solutions; to be the nodal non-governmental organization committed to attain highest standards of health in India by enabling stake holders, influencing policy makers and creating community consciousness.
Industrial disasters of the past have been stark pointers to the damage which can be caused by industry to people’s health and eco systems. Industry is necessary for a better quality of life and essential for progress. But hazards have always been an inevitable bye-product of industrialization, posing a threat to health, safety and environment. A definitive action in called for to mitigate and eliminate these hazards and our association plays a pioneering role towards achieving this objective.
- Academic and scientific lectures, symposia ,workshops & professional development courses for health, safety and environment (HSE) professionals.
- Annual Scientific Conferences held for the last 63 years for HSE professionals working in a range of industries.
- Periodic International Meetings held in India to share Asian and International experience.
- Collaborative knowledge and technology transfer through International Commission of Occupational Health (ICOH); IAOH is represented on several scientific committees of ICOH.
- An academic forum has been established to start formal and informal straining in HSE.
- IAOH’s 22 branches carry out their need-based scientific activities, like OH Foundation, Work safe India Fund, branch journals etc.,
- IAOH collaborates with National Institutions like Central Labour Institute, National Institute of Occupational Health, Indian Toxicological Research Institute and National Safety Council.
- Members participate as faculty for a wide range of training programs in India & globally.
- IAOH has been invited on several government committees to represent the profession.
IAOH has over 3000 occupational health physicians, industrial hygienists, safety professionals, social workers and counselors to realize our future vision. In addition to strengthening our current activities, we plan to expand our scope to address the following broad objectives.
- Create awareness about health, safety and environmental hazards of industrial processes among the public, workmen, management of industries & primary health care physicians particularly in the industrial hazardous sectors as well as the unorganized & agricultural sectors
- Prepare time-bound projects for designing and implementing occupational health, safety and environment protection in industry.
- Assist industries in design and implementation of occupational health services within their workplaces to improve the quality of healthcare in general and in occupational diseases in particular.
- Start formal and informal training courses in occupational health, safety and environment.
- Publish scientific journals, periodicals, books, literature and produce films, videos and computer software relevant to the field of occupational health, safety and environment.
- Carry out research in occupational health, safety and environment, independently and in collaboration with other agencies with similar aims and objects.
- Provide expertise in establishing occupational health centers in and around industrial zones and in creating relevant protocols for health screening and for standards of fitness to work.
- Liaise with the government and statutory agencies in drafting legislations in matters of health, safety and environment and its implementation.
- Prepare a National Registry of Occupational Health, Safety and Environment experts in collaboration with other agencies and provide such services to the industry.
- Prepare software for medical records for occupational health, safety and environment to provide management information.
- Collaborate with international agencies acting in the field of occupational health(like AIHA –American Industrial Hygiene Association) for cross border transfer of technology with reference to best practices in occupational health.