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Whether you're an employer or an employee, it's crucial to educate yourself on the long-term health effects of your job.
This doesn't just apply to coal miners and people who work in nuclear plants: even if you don't work in stereotypically hazardous conditions, you are still at risk for certain illnesses and injuries. They may not be so apparent a few months or even a few years into your job. However, over time, they can have a negative impact on your health and even put you out of work, causing you to lose your income and freedom.
As an employer, your interest in this information is to protect your workers. This knowledge is also helpful when it comes to workers’ compensation insurance.
When you are informed, you can take steps to prevent or lessen the impact of long-term health effects.
The following are a few potentially harmful scenarios and how you can prevent the damage that could occur:
1. Sitting All Day
Many office, assembly line and retail jobs require you to sit in front of a computer at least 40 hours per week. This can be hazardous to your health.
Sitting has been called the new smoking for a reason. It can result in a number of health issues like diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Even if you go to the gym before or after you start your eight-hour workday, you still won't ward off some of these negative effects.
There is no exact science on how often you need to get up out of your office chair, but you should try to move around as much as possible. Request walking meetings with your boss or employees, invest in a treadmill desk, get up to stretch every half hour, go outside for some fresh air and walk when you’re going to grab lunch or coffee.
2. Computer, Assembly Line Work and Driving
You may sit at a computer all day long or drive a truck for a living. Perhaps you are an assembly line employee or you own a business with assembly workers.
Jobs that require repetitive motions or use vibrating equipment for long periods of time can lead to carpal tunnel. If carpal tunnel worsens, you may have to undergo surgery or risk losing the ability to pick up and hold certain objects.
If you want to lessen your chances of getting carpal tunnel, make sure you consult a doctor or chiropractor on stretches you can do while you're at work. You can also try yoga and find keyboards and mouse pads that are designed to combat carpal tunnel. If you have the time, make sure you take a break in between repetitive motions as well.
3. Inside Air
The air inside a building might be up to 100 times dirtier than it is outside. This is due to the pollutants that are circulating around your workspace, including those from copiers, printers and air conditioners. Mold and asbestos are potential dangers as well. Exposure to pollutants can lead to headaches, skin and eye irritation, respiratory problems, memory loss and depression.
If you're an employer, you should regularly inspect your building for toxic chemicals and pollutants, or request an inspection from your landlord. If you're an employee, consider asking your employer to put an air filter in your office. Step outside as much as possible to get some fresh air, too.
4. Working Late Hours
Asking employees to work late may be inevitable, but if possible, it should be avoided at all costs. If you work a night shift, however, you might not have a choice.
Studies have shown that people who work all night experience a lower quality of sleep and are at a higher risk of developing diabetes, becoming obese, having a heart attack, getting breast cancer and injuring themselves.
To combat these effects, you should not work many nights in a row, keep your workplace bright to help your body adjust, cut down on caffeine, stick to a good sleep routine and use blackout blinds if you’re resting during the day.
Now that you know some of the long-term health effects of your job, it’s time to take the proper actions and keep yourself healthy.
Ryan Hanley is the Vice President of Marketing at TrustedChoice.com and the Managing Editor of Agency Nation. He is also a speaker, podcaster and author of the Amazon best-seller, "Content Warfare." Ryan has over 12 years of insurance expertise, and blogs frequently to help consumers understand complicated insurance topics.
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