It is crucial to understand what you’re looking at before identifying and preventing hazards in the workplace.
Based on the type of work environment, they come in many forms, some more severe than others. Occupational hazards are a source of harm that poses health risks.
Regardless of the location or environment, work-related dangers are always present. It is the responsibility of employers to identify them and ensure the safety of workers.
Workplace hazards are divided into different categories; physical and biological. Physical dangers like extreme temperatures cause harm without direct contact between the employee and the material like asbestos and iron.
On the other hand, biological threatscould be described as exposure to bacteria or viruses, whereaschemical hazards involve handling toxic materials.
Workers have the right to know about safety hazards. Regardless of the role and seniority, a business owner is responsible for identifying healthrisks, preventing incidents, and ensuring a safe work environment.
Employers must be aware of the severity of occupational dangersto avoid any health complications in the future.
Every individual has a different perception of a hazardous situation. One person might consider circumstances verydangerous, while the other will perceive a similar situation as minimally harmful.
Let’s look at various health hazards that pose a serious threat to workers’ health.
Mesothelioma is a typical example of an occupational health problem resulting from inhaling toxins such as asbestos.
A business owner must speak with a patient advocate to help them receive asbestos claims payout that covers medical expenses.Occupational respiratory disease symptoms include chest pain, fever, or body aches.
Inhaling toxins irritates the airways, skin, and eyes. A healthcare professional will diagnose respiratory diseases by reviewing your medical history and evaluating the symptoms.
The doctor will ask questions regarding work setting, exposure to harmful substances at a workplace to confirm whether you have occupational respiratory issues.
Chest X-rays and CT scans confirm the type and severity of the disease. It is unlikely that you can avoid health risks associated with your occupation.
However, increasing ventilation in the work area, wearing a mask, or using a respirator limits exposure to reduce the risk.
Workers exposed to loud noise or ototoxic chemicalshave occupational hearing loss, and noise higher than 85 decibels is considered hazardous.
Occupational noise-induced hearing loss mainly results from one-time or continuous exposure to an intense sound in a place likea garage or woodworking shop.
Occupations at risk for hearing loss include construction, farming, airline maintenance, and those involving loud machinery.
Occupational hearing loss affects around22 millionyearly, and companies stilldon’t consider the importance of providing preventive measuresif workers don’t complain about pain or physical abnormalities.
The lack of safety precautions and equipment is one of the leading causes of hearing loss. Therefore,employers can help workers limit exposure to excessive noise by using quieter machines and earmuffs.
Painful disorders such as tendonitisand back pain are examples of work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
These disorders occur due to prolonged work hours, lifting heavy loads, and dragging heavy objects. Low back pain is common amongst people who work for long durations in a sitting position.
Construction workers, nurse attendants, and dentists are at increased risk of back issues. A bad posture is the main factor contributing to back pain, so adjusting the chair’s height and balancing weight evenly on both feet will promote good posture while sitting.
Changing body position or stretching your muscles helps relieve tension from the body. Remember, it is necessary toevaluate the work environment thataggravatesmusculoskeletal disorders.
Health care professionals are at an increased risk of various infectious diseases from tuberculosis to HIV. These diseases spread through the air from one person to another because occupational infections usually result from contact with a biologically active organism.
If a person breathes in TB bacteria, it settles in the lungs and moves into different body parts, such as the kidneys and brain.
Tuberculin skin testing upon employment should be mandatory for all the people working in the healthcare sector. In addition to that, employers must take precautionary measures to ensure the overall health of workers.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
It is a progressive lung disease characterized by airflow obstruction and breathlessness. While smoking is the primary risk factor, exposure to dust, fumes, and vapors leads to the development of COPD.
Several occupations based on work environment put people at risk of occupational lung disease. Working in a garage or textile factory exposes an individual to hazardous materials.
Regardless of the cause, symptoms of COPD include shortness of breath, coughing, and chest pain. Chest X-rays or CT scanshelp in initial clinical diagnosis, while pulmonary function tests, microscopic examination of tissue cells, and biochemical studies of lung fluids determine the severity of lung disease.
Some ways to prevent occupational COPD include wearing facial masks, educating workers regarding risk factors, and limiting exposure to various toxic materials.
Mental Health Issues
Mental health issues arise when the workplace environment is uncomfortable. Employees facing workplace bullying often experience various mental health issues like anxiety, depression, or panic attacks.
Workplace bullying undermines confidence, lowers self-esteem, and leads to a lack of productivity. All these factors prevent employees from carrying out their roles effectively.
Various work-related health issues such as musculoskeletal disorders and infectious diseases go unnoticed, but standard blood tests and X-rays help diagnose these problems.
While workers should learn ways to protect themselves from occupational hazards, the safety of workers is also a vital aspect of managing a business. Therefore, employers should use available resources to ensure the safety of workers and resolve life-threatening situations.