The lack of safety protocols and poor implementation of healthy workplace practices often lead to the growth of occupational diseases.
If you work in such an industry where you’re at high risk of developing workplace illnesses, you must know the common diseases that can affect you and how you can safeguard yourself from potential workplace hazards.
Basic knowledge about workplace illnesses can help you perform your job better. The most common causes of workplace illnesses include chemical agents, biological agents, environmental factors, and ergonomic issues.
Here are the five things that you must know about workplace illnesses.
- Chemicals and Harmful Substance-Related Hazards
Chemicals causing workplace hazards are common, whether they can directly damage the skin resulting in irritation or allergy, or absorbed through the skin via inhaling.
Gasses such as chlorine, sulfur dioxide, and fluorine can act as strong irritants. They may badly affect the respiratory tract and the eyes.
The harmful effects of chemicals take time to show and often lead to cardiorespiratory failure. Contact dermatitis is the most common occupational skin disease caused by chemical exposure.
The best approach is to practice safety measures while using chemicals. You must know the purpose of the chemicals before purchasing them and maintain an inventory of all products.
Label each chemical bottle or container with the expiry date and dispose of them after expiration.
It is more than a safety concern and has legal obligations too. Moreover, you can also apply for compensations and claims after suffering from serious occupational diseases such as mesothelioma.
There are several benefits of settling, including the cost coverage of treatment.
- Poor Housekeeping Related Hazards
Housekeeping is a primary and crucial factor that keeps the workplaces safe from harmful bacteria and viruses. Lack of and delay in housekeeping often lead to the spread of infections among workers.
In addition, workers can trip, slip or fall on wet floors, cluttered entrance and exit points, and aisles. Over-storage or over-stacking loads in storage and a warehouse can restrict the movement in those areas.
During hectic shifts, it becomes hard to manage the workload, thus resulting in unpleasant incidents of tripping and falling.
If you want to save yourself from a mess, don’t wait for the housekeeping staff to clear the extra piles and clean the floor.
In case of demand for extra help or special needs, call the supervisor to assist and take immediate action. Managers can also call the relevant on-duty staff to clean the clutter and clean the surface.
- Electrical Hazards
The inappropriate use of electrical extension cords and blocked breakers are the common electrical hazards at workplaces.
Daisy-chaining is frequently used to pile up the multiple cords on a single device. It can easily attract surplus electricity from the circuit leading the wires to heat up and cause a fire. With all that said, maybe it’s the best time to consider some alternatives like standing desk to at least slow down these hazards.
Although the purpose of electrical cords is to fulfill the requirement temporarily, they cause tripping and falling when they lay on the floor for an extended time.
In addition, a worker may get an electric shock when wires are grounded and managed improperly. A severe shock can even prove fatal for a person, causing the failure of the vital organs.
Employers must assess the permanent and temporary nature of using the extension cords and follow the workplace guideline for it.
You must get training to keep the electrical equipment with utmost care and replace the damaged and out-of-service electrical items.
- Height Related Hazards
Working at height is not an easy task, especially when lifting a heavy load or moving at great heights on ladders, platforms, and scaffolds.
Height-related hazards are the outcomes when you work on roofs, elevated structures, on top of vehicles, tanks, etc., and fail to wear safety gear properly.
Furthermore, unguarded openings, lack of safety protocols, guardrails, and covers may cause a fall and a serious injury.
Even a fall of two meters can prove dangerous for you. You may suffer from a serious injury leading to a permanent disability or even death.
Sometimes workers do not understand how to follow safety measures to save themselves from falling.
You may wear protective gear improperly or don’t hook up to any support. To avoid height-related hazards, read working guidelines and safety measures.
- Ergonomic Related Hazards
Repetitive tasks and strenuous jobs such as lifting heavy objects, reaching overhead, standing and sitting in awkward postures for hours, and reaching overhead can cause ergonomic-related workplace illnesses.
The most common occupational disease linked to ergonomic issues is musculoskeletal disorder. It affects the nerves, muscles, joints, tendons, and blood vessels of the body.
Workers of various industries are exposed to a great risk of developing workplace illnesses. The Healthcare sector, especially nurses, suffers from MSDs frequently with the brutal nature of their jobs.
However, with preventive measures and safety guidelines in place, you can avoid developing work-related MSDs.
Read the safety measures provided by the working organization and follow them. It would help you to reduce muscle fatigue, pain, and MSDs.
In addition, you will feel more energetic and productive when you don’t feel any pain in the muscle or joints.
You can effectively cope with occupational illnesses if you learn about workplace hazards. Pay attention to your environment and find out information about products and procedures. Develop a healthy body posture and seek support while lifting heavy objects.
Suggest your employers develop and implement programs and practices that promote safety from workplace hazards.
If you are a supervisor, communicate all the necessary details about the health hazards at your workplace.
Attend the training sessions specially designed to improve your company’s working environment. If asked, feel free to share your feedback and pinpoint loopholes in the system that employers can remove.
Seek medical support from health professionals to investigate the cause of injuries and follow the preventive measures in the future.