Occupational Hazards: Could Your Job Be Harming Your Health?
Most of us know that spending all our spare time on the couch or eating takeouts on a daily basis is not great for our health, but have you ever thought about the impact of your job on your physical or mental wellbeing? Working can be good for you, but there are also plenty of occupational hazards out there. Here are some of the most common work-related health issues and some tips to help you stay fit and healthy at work.
Sometimes, it’s impossible to prevent work accidents, but often they could be eliminated with simple health and safety measures. Slips, trips, and falls are the most common type of accident at work. Injuries range from minor cuts and grazes to life-changing head and spinal injuries. Common hazards to look out for include obstacles in doorways and stairwells, broken or damaged flooring and slippery floors.
If you’re at work, there’s always a risk of accidents, but your employer should take the necessary steps to try and prevent occupational hazards. If there’s a spillage, for example, any liquid should be cleared up swiftly, and a warning sign should be placed on the floor.
Falls from height are another common type of work accident. If you work in construction or your job involves scaling buildings or working on the roof, it’s essential to use safety equipment. Your employer should ensure that you have suitable equipment that meets safety standards. As an employee, you can do your bit by wearing suitable shoes, reporting any problems to your boss and using equipment and machinery in the right way.
Your health and your working environment
Sometimes, the environment in which you work can have a negative impact on your health. If you’re exposed to harmful chemicals or challenging conditions, for example, this may put you at risk of illness. If you are working in a dangerous environment, for example, you’re clearing asbestos from an old building, always ensure you follow protocol and use the equipment provided.
Exposure to asbestos carries a risk of mesothelioma, a deadly form of cancer that commonly affects the lining of the lungs. It is difficult to treat mesothelioma, and this is why adopting preventative measures is imperative. Whenever you consider a change of career or you embark on a dangerous job, think about the potential risks. If you have any concerns about your health, don’t hesitate to talk to your boss.
Common work illnesses
In the US alone, more than 137 million working days are lost to illness and injury each year. The most common types of work illness include back pain and stress.
Back pain is a plague among millennial workers, mainly because the majority of people have desk jobs. When you’re sitting down at a computer for hours on end, this can take its toll on your back. Your posture is incredibly important if you work at a desk. When you’re typing, you should be able to reach the keyboard without stretching, and the screen should be level with your eye line. Your spine should be straight, and your shoulders relaxed. If you’re hunched over, or you’re craning your neck to see the screen, you may be at risk of other common occupational hazards, back and neck pain.
If you don’t already have an adjustable desk and a chair with robust lumbar support, speak to your boss. It’s also advisable to take regular breaks to stretch your legs and to alternate sitting and standing. Some people find standing desks much more comfortable than traditional desks.
Occupational Hazards include Stress
Stress is another issue many employers face. Working hours tend to be longer in this day and age and often, the demands of a job can contribute to increased pressure.
Modern employees may also be stressed due to financial pressures, relationships or not having enough hours in the day to get things done. More than 45 percent of people said that main source of stress was their workload. If you’re stressed and you can’t cope, speak to your boss about taking time off or lightening your workload temporarily. It’s best to address stress before it gets worse.
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