Certain jobs come with obvious dangers. However, in most cases it’s the long-term health hazards that are worth worrying about.
Here are just a few ways that your job could be damaging your health without you even realising.
1. Too much sitting down
Many of us have desk jobs that require us to stay seated all day. Too much sitting down can have its health risks. It can wear down the stomach muscles and increase the chances of get a flabby stomach.
It can also affect our spine and cause back problems later in life – especially for those of us craned over a computer screen.
If you aren’t able to take regular breaks from your desk and walk around, it could be worth trying a few desk exercises (or ‘deskercises’). An ergonomic chair meanwhile can take the pressure of the spine.
Some people even buy an adjustable standing desk, which can allow them to alternate between standing and seating whilst using their computer.
2. Too much standing up
Just as too much sitting down is bad for our bodies, too much standing up can also have its associated health problems. It can put pressure on the joints in the ankles, hips and knees, increasing the chances of arthritis later on in life.
These health risks can be eliminated by wearing comfortable shoes. Trainers are great for taking pressure off the joints and are encouraged in many professions such as nursing in which people have to be on their feet all day.
There are orthopaedic versions of all types of shoes from formal shoes to work boots that can also take pressure off the joints.
3. Repetitive strain injuries
Doing the same motion over and over again can result in permanent damage known as repetitive strain injury. Popular examples of this are tennis elbow and writer’s cramp.
Today’s office workers experience two major types of RSI – eye strain from staring at a screen all day and strain in the wrist and fingers from constant typing.
The only way to prevent an RSI is to take constant breaks. When it comes to eye strain, lighting can be a big factor – staring at a bright screen in a dim room is thought to make eyestrain worse.
There are programs out there that can help to prevent repetitive strain injuries, dimming the screen to match the surrounding lighting or telling you when to take a break when you’ve been typing for too long.
4. Lack of general health and safety
Employers are required to meet certain health and safety measures to limit harm against employees. This can include anything from providing protective equipment when using chemicals, preventing trip hazards and putting in place various fire safety.
If these health and safety features haven’t been put into place and you are harmed, it could worth hiring a workers compensation lawyer who can help get you compensation to help cover your injury.
When it comes to prevention, make sure that your employer is following guidelines and warn them if you think that extra health and safety measures could be put into action. In certain workplaces, protective equipment may be provided, but wearing it may not be enforced – make sure that you’re not neglecting this safety equipment.
5. Lack of cleanliness
Unclean equipment can help to spread bacteria and cause illness around the workplace. This could result in anything from mild sickness to something more serious such as Legionnaires caused by mould and dirty air conditioning.
Much of this cleanliness may be the responsibility of the employer. However, there could be other times when it is the responsibility of the employee. Dirty mugs, crummy keyboards and unclean uniforms are some of the main culprits.
6. Work-related stress
Stress can also cause your body harm. When we are stressed, we release a hormone called cortisol that keeps us more alert, whilst tensing up out muscles and raising our blood pressure. This can cause insomnia, muscle cramps and circulatory problems.
Unhealthy build-ups of white blood cells caused by stress have been linked to heart disease and are thought to be one of the major causes of heart attacks.
There are lots of things that can cause work-related stress. If your work is stressing you out, consider taking a break.
If it persists, ask about reducing your responsibilities or consider finding a new job that’s less high-pressure. Short-term methods of eliminating stress include taking a hot bath, meditating, listening to music and exercising.