If you don’t like going to work every day, you probably aren’t going to be too enamored that there are ways your job may damage your health. But then again, if you love your chosen career, you also are going to be concerned about the damage your job might do to your health. We all face pressures and stress at work every day, but there are some positions where ways your job may damage your health are of greater concern than others. Here are some risks you need to be aware of.
1. Intense Pressure
One of the ways your job may damage your health is if you are in high-pressured situations on a regular basis. I’m not talking about having to do presentations in front of your boss: I’m talking about having to rescue children from fires, or deal with an armed hostage situation. The emergency responders in the United States have one of the worst health records of any profession, with 22% of police officers, or 45% of fire fighters, dying from stress-related heart problems.
2. Shift Work
Your body clock is extremely valuable, and those who work on a shift basis often permanently damage their internal body clock. Not only will shift work cause higher levels of stress and tiredness, researchers have found that insulin levels fluctuate along with blood pressure changes.
3. Long Hours
One of the many ways that your job may impact your health is if you consistently work long hours. This is not a profession-specific job, but researches in the United Kingdom found that those working at least 11 hours, compared to those working under 8 hours, had a 67% higher risk of heart disease. The next time you agree to do yet another overtime shift, think about what you might be doing to your health.
4. Losing Your Job
In this economic climate, losing your job is not always something that you can avoid. This risk transcends the professional divisions: whether you are a factory worker or an office manager, you have the same risk. Harvard researchers in 2009, at the height of unemployment in the United States, found that those who had recently lost their jobs were significantly more likely to develop heart-related problems than those in secure employment. If you want to make sure that your job doesn’t impact your health, try to keep as secure a job as possible.
5. Sedentary Professions
Sitting down all day is just not good for you and being sedentary is another of the ways a job may damage your health. Researchers at the University of California have found that bus drivers often suffer from hypertension, at around 56% of all bus drivers suffering from the problem. This is almost double the amount of those who work in other, more peripatetic professions. Bus and other transport drivers are also more likely to be overweight, have heart disease and higher cholesterol than other professions!
6. No Health Insurance
About a sixth of the American population will have no health insurance this year. While not necessarily damaging your health, having a job that doesn’t provide health insurance won’t help your health at all. We all need to visit the doctor from time to time, even if it’s just for a check-up on our cholesterol and blood pressure. Without health insurance, you will find that you are at a higher risk for a range of problems than those who are covered.
7. Passive and Secondary Smoke
Despite the changes to smoking laws, some jobs still put people in the position of having to inhale smoke regularly and in volume. Unsurprisingly bartenders in States without smoking regulations often have very poor health. Heart attack and lung cancer are just two common results from inhaling secondhand smoke, along with an increased risk of heart attacks and respiratory diseases. Their work isn’t high-pressure, but the exposure to secondhand smoke is one of the most common ways jobs cause lasting heath damage.
8. Little Control over Your Work
As human beings we love to be able to control our work schedule and what happens during the day. Those with little control over their work – such as those who need to fill quotas each hour while relying on other people – are much more likely to have stress-related problems with their health. If you really want to limit the damage your job is having on your health, move to a profession where you have as much control over your own work as possible.
9. Carbon Monoxide Exposure
It makes sense that if you are working in dirty underground tunnels all day, you might expect to have poor health. Medical students have conducted studies which show that there is a direct link between carbon monoxide exposure in tunnels and the workers having heart-related problems such as heart disease.
I think it’s quite scary that there are these ways a job can damage our health, mainly because we go to work every day probably without giving them a second thought. I’m not suggesting you panic about your own job. Just be aware of the risks and know how to manage them. Do you know what risks your job has for your health?