The vast majority of us need to go to work to put a roof over our heads and pay the bills. The best jobs have the capacity to do more than just ‘provide a wage’, giving us a fulfilling challenge to make the best use of our talents. The worst, however, don’t just take up all of our time and effort, they can even damage our health.
Some people may not have even considered the risk that their job poses; here are some common workplace health risks for you to consider:
One of the clearest ways in which your job can impact upon your health is through the physical strain it puts on your body. Back problems are one of the most common workplace injuries and can be caused by the heavy lifting associated with many manual jobs.
Jobs and careers involved in the heaviest manual work can, therefore, pose the biggest risk. A quarter of fatal workplace accidents in the UK occur in the manufacturing sector – as do 16 per cent of incidents that leave people with serious injuries.
Exposure to danger
It’s not always the activities that you’re engaged in that pose the greatest danger. Some industries and positions leave workers exposed to the sort of chemicals or fumes that could easily prompt a health problem. While there are plenty of innovations that help to remove the danger from industrial operations, not all businesses and sectors are quick enough to get up to speed and protect their workers. Without the right training, equipment or current working practices this could become a real problem.
Yet, don’t think that means a nine-to-five desk job is your best bet to be safe. While the activities of some jobs can pose a risk to your health, the lack of activity is also an issue. Some have suggested that ‘sitting down is the new smoking’, with health experts worried that office workers spend too long sitting in one position during their daily shift. Indeed, inactivity is said to be the fourth largest killer of adults, according to the World Health Organisation. If your job keeps you chained to your desk, then it might well be harming your health.
All of these issues impact on your physical health, but your job might also have an effect on your mental health too. If you’re working long hours or constantly under pressure to meet tough performance targets, then your job could leave you with a big emotional strain. Many people suffer from sleepless nights as work lays heavy on their mind. A bad job – or indeed a bad boss – can cause or contribute to a working environment that is not good for your mental wellbeing.
Whether it’s a heavy workload, handling dangerous substances, not being active enough or your state of mind, there are many ways in which your job might put your health at risk. If any of these apply to you, you should speak to your boss and seek assistance – suffering in silence only serves to escalate a problem further down the line.