Work-Related Illnesses – Types, Preventive Measures & Tips to Avoid It

According to World Health Organization, millions of people around the world work in conditions that are deemed unsafe. WHO reported that nearly two million people die every year due to work illnesses. This is almost equivalent to yearly fatalities brought by Malaria in which 300,000 of its victims came from hazardous workplaces.

The WHO also reported that work illnesses oftentimes result to one’s incapability to work and earn income. 200 million cases of work-related diseases occurs yearly, including reproductive and musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular & respiratory diseases, mental disorders, hearing problems and cancer.

Other work-related diseases:

  • Intervening or secondary injuries that aren’t related to work
  • HIV or Hepatitis C due to needle sticks exposure
  • Occupational diseases like Mercer Staph infections and repetitive ailments or injuries caused by too much work
  • Amputations of fingers, limbs or toes
  • Exposure to asbestos
  • Heart attacks due to exertion
  • Shoulder and wrist injuries like cuff damage
  • Lacerations due to loss of limb use and cut tendons
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy/complex regional pain syndrome
  • Knee injuries such as ACL injuries and meniscus tears
  • Frequent injuries caused by lifting
  • Spinal cord and neck injuries, including quadriplegia and paraplegia
  • Head injuries including inner ear damages, blood clots, frontal lobe injury and traumatic brain injury
  • Back injuries caused by turning, lifting, pushing and pulling

Preventive Measures

Here are some preventive measures to follow when you’re suffering from any of these work illnesses.

  • Muscle pains: Make sure that the overall layout of the working area is comfortable – from the seating to all items that are easy to reach and carry.
  • Back pains: Always be careful when handling any items that are heavy during work.
  • Difficulty in breathing: Make sure your workplace is using the safest materials available. For employers, if you’re requiring employees to work with risky substances, always ensure first that the entire working area is 100% ventilated. Also ensure that your employees are provided with high quality protective gear. Keep an eye towards the ventilation of the workplace. If possible, make some necessary adjustments.
  • Loss of hearing: The frequent use of ear protection while at work isn’t that daft as it may likely appear. Provide your employees a hearing protection and put in sound proof to your machinery.
  • Eyesight problems: It is the employer’s responsibility to give proper eye protection among employees using machinery at work. Invest in general lighting of the highest quality to reduce the risk of eyestrain and other related damages.

Practical Tips to Avoid Work Illnesses

  1. Have 60-minute break at work. Your body deserves a break no matter how focused you are at work.
  2. Sit comfortably during work hours. Fix your posture – align your back (in 90-degree angle) with a chair.
  3. Exercise regularly. It doesn’t have to be rigorous; simple exercises like short/long walks will do.
  4. Do hand exercises. Typing non-stop on the computer might cause carpal tunnel syndrome. Do some stretching in between.
  5. Avoid going to work if you have a very infectious disease.
  6. Always ensure a healthy body.