Being gainfully employed provides many benefits, not the least of which is the ability to meet your basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter. And most jobs also provide opportunities for social interaction, along with tasks that help to keep your mind sharp.
In fact, a study by the Institute of Economic Affairs reveals that retired workers have a 40 percent greater risk of developing depression. And even when factoring for common age-related conditions, they have a 60 percent greater chance of developing at least one physical ailment. In other words, their physical and mental abilities begin to diminish when they are no longer actively engaged in work. Despite this data, the average person, when given the opportunity, would choose retirement in a split second, as long as their retirement income is sufficient.
After all, retirees can always choose to do crossword puzzles or other types of brain-building exercise to remain mentally sharp. Also, they can choose to join a health club or even work in their garden to remain physically active. In addition, retirees can hang out with their peers, or volunteer their services at churches or other nonprofit organizations to meet the need for socialization.
On the other hand, being gainfully employed provides its own set of health risks – not just one or two, but a laundry list of issues. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work, making occupational hearing loss the most common work-related condition in the country. And 9 million additional workers are exposed to ototoxic chemicals, which are agents that can cause either temporary or permanent nerve damage that results in hearing loss, along with a loss of balance. In fact, worker’s compensation for hearing loss disability is estimated at $242 million a year.
In addition, young workers – under the age of 24 – represent 13 percent of the workforce. However, they account for a disproportionally higher number of workplace-related injuries, due in part to inexperience and insufficient safety training. For example, young people who work in restaurants have a higher incidence of injuries resulting from falling on slippery floors, or being injured by knives and other cooking utensils and equipment. But these two are just the tip of the iceberg. Keep reading to discover six other ways that your job may be hazardous to your health.
Commuting Exhausts And Stresses You
Before you even arrive at work, your job is already contributing to your health woes. The problems start with your morning commute – depending on your mode of transportation -and the further you travel, the greater the probability that you’ll develop health problems.
Lund University conducted a study of 21,000 people who commuted to work by car, bus, or train, and also those who either walk or ride a bicycle to work. The study revealed that commuters who drove or used public transportation felt more exhausted and were more likely to suffer from exhaustion, sleep deprivation, stress, and other health problems than those who walked or cycled to work.
Ironically, those with a 30-minute to 60-minute commute fared worse than those who commuted for over an hour, perhaps because longer distances provide time for commuters to relax.
Crazy Co-workers Could Give You Diabetes
You already know that crazy coworkers can also drive you crazy. But, they can also increase your chances of developing diabetes.
A study at Tel Aviv University followed over 5,000 healthy individuals who went to their respective doctors for a routine examination. Over the course of 41 months, 182 of the participants developed diabetes, although they showed no previous signs of developing the disease. Researchers accounted for family medical history, age, body mass index, and other conditions that could have been contributing factors.
However, the results still indicate that people who received positive social support from their coworkers reduced their chances of developing diabetes by 22 percent, compared to employees who work in environments with poor communication and no emotional support.
Sitting All Day Is Killing You
Many people who sit down all day at work consider themselves fortunate to have that type of job. However, the research does not support this theory. In fact, you may want to stand up while you’re reading the rest of this article. If you sit down all day, there’s a good chance that you probably slump over, even if you’re not aware that you’re doing it. And slumping wreaks havoc on your posture and causes decreased hip mobility, which also makes your glutes soft and negatively affects your ability to walk.
You’re also more susceptible to developing a strained neck, a bad back, and problems related to poor circulation in your legs. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The “real” problem with sitting down all day is that you have a 61 percent greater chance of dying than someone who doesn’t sit all day.
Working Overtime Leads To Heart Attacks
While working overtime may allow you to earn more money, you may not have time to spend it – and not for the reason you that you think. Putting in those extra hours at work will not only decrease your amount of free time, but it can also decrease how much time you have left on planet Earth. That’s because working 10 or more hours a day can increase your chances of having a heart attack.
Researchers from France, Finland, and the U.K. studied over 10,000 British civil servants over the course of 11 years. Approximately 10 percent of the employees worked 3 or 4 additional hours each day, and these individuals were more aggressive and competitive – which researchers speculate could possibly be the result of sleep deprivation and psychological distress.
Regardless of the reason, the study discovered that among this group of roughly 1,000 overtimers who worked at least 10 hours a day, there were 369 incidents of fatal heart attacks, nonfatal heart attacks, and angina (severe chest pains).
Your Eyes Are Under Siege…
Your eyes are under attack from a variety of sources when you’re at work. If your job requires you to stare at a computer all day, you can probably relate to the 47 percent of workers in a recent survey who said that their eyes frequently get tired, or the 29 percent who get vision-related headaches.
But these aren’t the only potential hazards that your eyes may encounter. Medical and laboratory workers, as well as those who perform janitorial work or handle animals, have a greater chance of developing infectious diseases that can be transferred through the eye’s mucous membrane as a result of blood splashes, respiratory droplets spread through coughs or suctions, or from the employers rubbing their eyes with fingers that have been contaminated. The CDC notes that these infections could be mild (pinkeye, redness, soreness) or potentially life-threatening (HIV, B virus, avian influenza).
…And So Is Your Skin
Depending on your profession, your skin may also be exposed to a variety of hazardous diseases, included irritant and contact dermatitis, skin infections, skin injuries, and even skin cancers. The workers at highest risk are employed in food service, health care, cosmetology, agriculture, mechanics, painting, cleaning, construction, and printing.
According to the CDC, most occupational skin diseases and disorders are caused by chemical agents as a result of sprays, splashes, immersions, and contact with contaminated surfaces. Another cause is physical agents, which may include severe cold, intense heat, or radiation. Mechanical trauma is another origin of skin problems, and may be the result of pressure, friction, cuts, or bruises. In addition, biological agents such as parasites, microorganisms, and plants can also produce occupational skin diseases.