Common Workplace Health Hazards
By: LHarris, Ecopreneurist.com
Workplace safety has come a long way since the old times when miners would take canaries underground with them as the only indication of breathable air, and oil drillers would regularly be crushed by their own machinery. Yes, today's workplace is a far more safely run environment than ever before, but sadly not everything can be accounted for. There will always be some health and safety hazards in the workplace, and it is important to recognize them in order to be able to avoid them.
One of the most common health hazards experienced in workplaces, particularly for those in manufacturing and construction, is hearing loss. Spending hours every day around heavy, loud machinery, yelling into coworkers' ears in order to be heard-this kind of work lends itself to hearing loss very easily. Long term exposure to this high volume environment, as well as the vibrations produced by such machinery, can be very damaging to the ears. Try to avoid this hazard by always wearing earplugs or noise-dampening earmuffs.
Another common hazard for workers is the onset of muscular and skeletal disorders as a result of heavy lifting or repetitive motions. Workers in industries like construction and farming often find themselves injuring muscles due to the amount of physical stress involved in their work. Workers whose jobs involve large amounts of typing tend to find themselves at risk for conditions like carpal tunnel and Repetitive Strain Injury. These hazards are difficult to avoid completely, as each respective injury arises from a necessary aspect of the worker's job, but the best way to minimize risk is by stretching, taking things in moderation, giving your body periodic rest, and knowing your limits.
Workers in industries as varied as farming and healthcare can find themselves at high risk for exposure to chemicals and biological hazards. Dangerous hazards such as parasites, pesticides, mold and bacteria are a serious problem for agricultural workers. Health care professionals have to deal with things such as tainted equipment, bio-hazard materials, contact with contagious patients, and repeated exposure to high level radiation from things like x-rays. Preventative measures should be taken in these industries as much as possible by maintaining a strong immune system, abiding by all health and safety code requirements, and avoiding unnecessarily risky situations.
By far the most common occupational health hazards today are mechanical and structural accidents. Precarious structures subject to rough weather conditions become immediate hot spots for injury. Heavy machinery with unprotected components are accidents waiting to happen. Avoid structural and mechanical hazards by simply being smart and responsible. Don't go out on a limb in dangerous weather conditions, and don't operate machinery when you are distracted or tired.
Preventing workplace health hazards is a often a simple matter. You don't need to order thyroid testing online or make unnecessary visits to the doctor if your workplace meets health and safety standards, and you know how to avoid occupational hazards. A little bit of knowledge now can prevent a lot of complications later.