Are there hidden dangers in your workplace? Even if you don’t work in bomb disposal or on a fishing trawler, your job may still be having negative effects on your health. Here are a few ways that you can spot the dangers and lower the risks.
Be attentive with health and safety
If you work on a building site, it’s likely everyone will be strictly ordered to wear a hard hat and a hi-vis at all times. However, in some jobs the equipment may be there – and it may be recommended that you use it in a job contract – and yet most people won’t wear it because no boss is strictly enforcing it.
This can sometimes be the case when handling various chemicals such as industrial cleaning fluids. If special gloves are available, be safe and use them.
If you believe your workplace hasn’t got effective health and safety measures in place, you can always contact the HSE and they will be able to send in an inspector to see if health and safety laws are being broken. If you know that laws are being broken, you may even be able to file a lawsuit against your employer (especially so if you have already been poisoned by chemicals in the workplace). Be aware that your employer may not always be aware of certain hidden dangers (e.g. asbestos on the roof, broken safety equipment).
Work related stress is thought to be one of the biggest causes of heart failure. By raising blood pressure, stress puts more strain on the heart. Clots are also more likely to form due to an excessive build-up of white blood cells in the arteries. The stress hormone cortisol meanwhile has many other negative effects on our body such as muscles strain, aging of the skin, infertility and inability to sleep properly.
The best remedy for stress in such a situation is to find a new job, although of course this isn’t always possible. Some people may be addicted to work as they try to chase a promotion, resulting in the excessive stress. In some cases, a job’s pay may make it hard to leave without having to sacrifice a certain lifestyle. Often small steps can be made to make work less stressful, whether it’s working fewer hours, taking on less responsibility or simply going on a break. In all cases, you should talk to your employer, or a counselor if you feel your employer may be the reason for your stress.
Beware of ill colleagues
Whilst generally not a major danger to our health, most of us will catch illnesses and infections off of our colleagues. This could be prevented if everybody stayed at home when sick, but many of us guilty of going into the office when we feel unwell, either due to the pressure of the job or a need to receive full pay. If somebody else is seriously ill and you’re worried about it, it’s worth telling your employer who then may be able to send that staff member home. No employer wants their entire workforce getting sick.
Give yourself recovery time
Many of us can do damage to our health simply by returning to work to early after a major illness or accident. For example, someone with a broken ankle may decide to return to their job as a waiter before the recommended period and cause extra damage to their foot. Often putting strain on an injury before the recommended recovery period is over can result in lasting damage. It’s common for those in manual labour jobs to permanently do their back in due to lifting a heavy object with a recovering back injury. Listen to the doctor and stay away from work until you’re well enough. There are certain methods that may allow you to recover faster, but you should always clarify these with a medical professional first.
Avoid repetitive strain injuries
Some injuries can be done through doing the same action day in, day out. These don’t just apply to manual labour jobs, sitting at a desk and staring at a screen has all kinds of bad long-term effects such as damaging posture, damaging vision and damaging muscles in the waist from constant sitting down. Taking a break from the screen and stretching your legs throughout the day can help lessen this damage. There are also methods such as buying a stand up desk, as well as special exercises behind a desk (or deskercises).
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