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What Industries Present the Most Health Risks?
Health risks are endemic to personal and professional life alike – but our professional roles introduce unique occupational hazards we may not otherwise experience.
Increased exposure to occupational risk can be a point of contention for many embarking on a new career, especially in the case of healthcare in recent years – begging the question of which industries present the most health risks to workers. Here are four such sectors and the risks inherent to their roles.
It should come as no surprise that construction appears first on this list. Construction work is skilled labor, requiring significant knowledge and experience to undertake safely. Construction sites are a hotbed for hazards, from heavy and falling objects to sharp tools.
Meanwhile, the risks inherent to construction sites are numerous: from fall risks to injuries from using power tools.
There are several routes to mitigating health risks on construction sites, with prevention naturally the better overall approach. But personal protective equipment (PPE) provides a beneficial function where risk elimination is otherwise impossible. Safety glasses can be utilised to protect the eyes from flying debris when cutting or drilling, and hard hats are a common sight for protection from flying or falling objects.
However, health risks are not merely presented by static hazards in the form of materials or tools. In many cases, occupational hazards occur from dynamic situations that require a unique response – and protective services in the form of police or security are such cases.
According to the Labour Force Survey, police force injury rates are up to four times higher than the ‘all-occupations’ injury rate – indicating the increased risk of injury while carrying out diligent police work. The chances are numerous, from physical assault injuries incurred while detaining suspects to the mental stress incurred from managing difficult situations.
Another sector in which the risk to mental health ranks alongside risks to physical health is healthcare. Primary care roles are highly stressful, with practitioners frequently working long hours to treat numerous patients in various physical and mental conditions. The global coronavirus pandemic introduced additional strain to health services in the UK, which remains extant to this day.
Physical health risks include exposure to disease and infection, alongside the dynamic risks of treating uncooperative and violent patients, which also introduce mental strain. Despite existing measures to lighten the mental load on staff, 40% of NHS staff feel unwell as a result of work-related stress.
Industries present the most health risks: engineering
Engineering work, such as car servicing or industrial equipment maintenance, is somewhat equivalent to the construction industry in the kinds of risks employees face. The use of dangerous tools and heavy equipment are guaranteed in both, and the use of PPE is similarly crucial in both settings.
But some of the specific risks differ in crucial ways. Engineers encounter electricity far more often, whether repairing circuitry or operating power sources. Additional training and certification are required to ensure proper safety is maintained.