A specialist in occupational medicine is predominantly concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and care of patients who have contracted an illness in the workplace. This is an important speciality in medicine as the safety of workers needs to be ensured. Such a specialist would be able to work in typical medical locations such as the hospital, but would also have the opportunity to work for a particular company in order to ensure health and safety regulations are upheld.

This is a discipline not only requiring individuals who have a sound knowledge of the medical discipline, but who are also able to help prevent injuries occurring by setting out safety guidelines. An occupational medical specialist would need to visit workplaces from day to day, and would work with a host of sub-specialist physicians. This is a branch of medicine that is increasing in popularity, and one which is of increasing importance.

Work activities

Typical work activities a specialist in occupational medicine would need to carry out include:

  • Possibly work in a hospital setting or for a particular manufacturing organisation.
  • Visit workplaces from day to day in order to ensure health and safety regulations are upheld.
  • Work with medical professionals such as occupational hygienists, and also non-medical personnel including managers.
  • Speak directly to employers and employees to ensure occupational health is in order.
  • Continue to study and learn of any changes occurring in the practice of occupational health.
  • Pass on your experience to other professionals entering the industry.
  • Watch out for medical conditions that are contracted in the workplace, and also injuries that may be aggravated in such a place.
  • Travel will play a major part in your work.
  • Be confident of your views and knowledge in order to shape the workings of a company in terms of health and safety.

Essential skills

  • Organised and professional manner.
  • A driving licence may be necessary if you need to travel to different workplaces.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • A confident manner when working with medical and non-medical personnel.
  • Sound knowledge of medicine.
  • Thorough understanding of health and safety regulations.
  • Leadership qualities.
  • Attention to detail and good critical thinking.
  • Able to work as part of a medical team and as an individual.
  • Time management when needing to travel and visit several workplaces in a short space of time.
  • Confidence in your ability and also an understanding of your shortcomings