Health Service Categories and Careers


Occupational and Environmental Medicine specialises in health and safety in the workplace and the impact of industrial practices, and environmental conditions, on human health. This field of medicine is a subspecialty of Internal Medicine. It is concerned with the health and wellbeing of workers, including their mobility, dexterity, aerobic capacity, vision, hearing, skin and mental function. It studies harmful exposures in workplaces- such as dusts, airborne toxins, radiation and noise and those in the environment – which may come from air, water, soil, food, and recreation. It studies law and legislation relating to environmental control and employment, and strategies that help prevent illness or harm in the workplace or from environmental exposure.

Occupational and Environmental Medicine involves research, monitoring, and assessment of worker and public health matters, such as clusters of adverse health effects in the community, or environmental hazards generated by industry – including neighbourhood noise, dust, or contamination of waterways. Services can help to establish causal links between human health and occupational/environmental conditions. This field of medicine involves education and preventative health care strategies in the workplace and community, and rehabilitation and assistance for people to return to work after illness or injury.

Occupational and Environmental Medicine Jobs

Occupational and Environmental Physicians apply preventative health care strategies to minimise hazards and ill-health in the workplace or environment. They work with governments, employers, and industry bodies, to create health programs and educational awareness of industrial workplace hazards. They provide services which help establish if injury or illness is related to work or environmental factors. They assess fitness for high-risk work, assist workers return to work after injury or illness, provide treatment and rehabilitation, and connect patients to other medical, allied health or legal support services. Environmental physicians might assess the health impacts of an environmental incident or provide expert advice for planning and risk reduction. They research potential future problems related to the workplace, environment and human health, and collaborate with other medical specialists, occupational health practitioners, and a range of stakeholders. To work as an Occupational and Environmental Physician, doctors complete advanced training in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, a 3.5 year RACP program, which is open to registered doctors from PGY2+, and leads to Fellowship and Specialist registration with AHPRA.