2002 Volume 40 Issue 2 Pages 167-174
An important challenge to occupational health services in Japan is the necessary shift from regulation-based occupational health program to health risk-based program. The Occupational Safety and Health Management System (OSHMS) is an effective tool for introducing risk-based activities. To date, the Five Management system has been used to manage occupational health activities. This classification, however, does not show the interactions among the listed activities. Nor is it clear how this system contributes to the PDCA (Plan/Do/Check/Act) cycle for continual improvement. The category in the Five Management system called “Roles of the Occupational Physician” covers most of the occupational health services required in Japan. The items listed in the Five Management system were compared to the guidelines of OSHMS from the International Labour Office and issues that should be solved for occupational health activities with OSHMS were clarified. Seven issues are discussed in this paper; (1) occupational safety and health policy and audit that can drive the PDCA cycle effectively, (2) reclassification of occupational health activities with several different objectives, (3) set up of targets, (4) risk assessment methods that can prioritize health risks compared to safety risks, (5) exposure assessment methods for risk assessment, (6) flexibility of laws and regulations, and (7) development of talented professionals for risk-based occupational health activities.