Not all workplace hazards are obvious and immediate. Some cause gradual and invisible damage over a period of years. Here are some of those hidden long-term ways your work might be damaging your health and how you can protect yourself against them.
Sitting down too long
Sedentary jobs such as office work and driving jobs can often cause long term damage. A lack of exercise can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure and depression, while constantly being sat down can also weaken stomach muscles and damage knee joints. Finding ways to fit more physical activity into your day can help to combat these negative health effects. This could include cycling to work, exercising on your lunch break or taking lots of frequent small breaks to get up and walk around.
Loud noise exposure
Some work environments such as construction sites, live music venues and airports can be very noisy. Constantly exposure to this loud noise can result in premature hearing loss. Wearing ear protection is the best way to prevent damage. Any work environment that is loud enough to cause damage is legally required to supply this equipment – but not always legally required to enforce that this equipment is worn. Make sure that you are wearing this equipment. For those that have already started noticing hearing loss, you can learn more about ways of treating it online. Wearing a hearing aid could return your hearing to normal and possibly prevent future hearing loss.
Repetitive movements at work can be damaging your health
Repetitive movements such as typing, scanning items and using certain power tools can sometimes lead to inflammation of joints and muscles. These can eventually turn into chronic aches and pains known as RSIs (repetitive strain injuries). Taking regular breaks from these repetitive movements can be one way of preventing RSIs. It may also be possible to reduce the strain by adopting ergonomic equipment or by adjusting your posture.
Poor air quality
Some work environments such as factories, workshops and flour mills may have poor air quality. Breathing in this air over a long period can lead to respiratory problems in the long run. As with noise exposure, it is usually an employer’s responsibility to provide protective equipment, however wearing this equipment may not always be enforced. Make sure that you aren’t putting your health in danger by not wearing this health and safety equipment.
Stress is often said to be the biggest killer. It’s a leading cause of strokes, hypertension and heart disease. It can also contribute to anxiety and depression. Stress is the result of workplace pressures – this could include tight deadlines or a lot of responsibility. By partaking in relaxing activities at the end of each day, such as taking a hot bath, listening to music or meditating, you can help your mind and body to destress. Knowing when to take a break from work is also important.