Some of the most hazardous work environments in the world are construction sites, mining sites, warehouses, road work, recycling facilities, and medical laboratories. The hazard could be anything from the risk of physical harm to biological hazards. You can even be exposed to radiation, and your psychological health can suffer, for example, if you work in isolated areas of the world such as in Antarctica.
Whether you need to use a powered air-purifying respirator to protect your physical health or seek psychological counselling, safety precautions must be put in place to ensure the workers’ well-being. But one of the most important things that you can do if you need to deal with a hazardous worksite is to be aware of what you could possibly be exposed to.
On construction and mining sites, workers’ lives are at risk because of the possibility of falling or the collapse of the mine’s roof or the building wall. They can also get injured by heavy equipment, especially if they are not well calibrated and proper safety measures are not being followed. In road construction, workers might meet accidents caused by speeding vehicles. They can cause the accidents themselves if they don’t put warning signs and signals.
It’s not just bodily harm that workers have to face in terms of physical hazards. Other factors can harm the body without necessarily touching it. Radiation from nuclear plants and air pollutants from recycling facilities can cause serious health concerns. You can also get exposed to ultraviolet rays if you’re working in the medical field, specifically in the X-ray room.
Sometimes, you don’t even notice the hazards. If your work conditions slowly put a strain on your body, there is no immediate manifestation of pain or injury. It will just come to you. Short-term effects include sore muscles, but long-term exposure to such working condition can cause serious debilitating illnesses in the future. For example, improperly adjusted workstations and chairs can cause back pain, and frequent lifting can sprain bones. Repetitive movements such as typing on a keyboard can also cause carpal tunnel syndrome, a common condition that’s characterised by pain, numbness, and a tingling sensation in the hand and arm.
Do you know that some chemical hazards can cause a woman to be barren for life? Whether you’re dealing with liquid, gas, or solid, you need to make sure that you have safety measures in place. Safety goggles and gloves are important when working in a chemical laboratory. You can get exposure to cleaning products, paint, solvents, vapours, and fumes. Gases such as propane, acetylene, helium, and carbon monoxide have profound health effects. Other chemicals that are harmful to you are pesticides and flammable materials such as gasoline, solvents, and explosive chemicals.
Your work isn’t physically challenging, but that does not mean that it doesn’t affect your mental health. Most of the time, it is workload demands, violence, discrimination, lack of respect, and sexual harassment, among others, that are the biggest stressors of your day. When you are too stressed at work, there is a huge possibility that this stress will manifest physically. You may find yourself being sickly when you weren’t like that before. This is a sign that there’s too much stress in some areas of your life.
While this list is by no means exhaustive, it is a guide that you need to look at if you’re working in an industry that could affect your physical, emotional, and mental health. Working in an environment that regularly poses a threat to your health is exhausting and stressful. Awareness of these different hazards, however, will prepare you for the dangers of working in these industries.