Occupational Hazards That Can Impact Your Long-Term Health

No matter what career you pursue, there will be pros and cons. Among the pros and cons, there are serious health concerns and occupational hazards that you should be aware of. As you think through these different factors of a given career, try to be as objective as possible—failing to do so could hurt you down the road.

Repetitive Motion

Repetitive motion injuries occur from performing the same motions hours at a time over periods of days and months. These types of injuries can occur in virtually all fields. You can get these types of injuries from working at a computer all day and typing with the same wrist and finger motions all day. You can get these kinds of injuries from performing the same type of shoveling motion day in day out.

Whatever field you are in, be aware of the different repetitive motions you do throughout the day. Perform a mental analysis of your day-to-day to determine areas where you perform the same motion over and over and develop a variety of different methods of performing those tasks. Adding some variety will help you offset the potential risk of repetitive motion.

Exposure to Harmful Dust

When you work in different occupations that involve huge amounts of dust, you expose yourself to various toxins and potential health risks. For the most part, when you inhale dust, the majority of the large particles are filtered and caught by your nose.

But with increased consistent exposure to harmful dust, smaller particles will occasionally pass through your nose and into your lungs. These smaller particles that pass through the nose can enter the lungs which have less filtering to protect against harmful materials.

To protect yourself against harmful dust, make sure to get the right protective gear for the type of dust you’re up against. You might initially think that a typical construction mask will work, but make sure you understand the level of toxicity that you’re up against so you can get the right protective gear.

Working With Chemicals

Working with chemicals is another occupational hazard that you shouldn’t forget about. You could be working with chemicals as a pest control agent or as a healthcare worker. Be aware of the different risks that are involved with those chemicals and how to avoid them.

If working with pest control, you may find that inhaling the scent of the pest control too frequently could negatively impact your lungs. Wear a mask or adapt your routine somehow to mitigate the risk of chemical issues.

Sun Exposure

Working outside can be such a great work environment—being outside has such great health benefits. Fields like landscaping or even certain construction roles allow you to take advantage of being outside in the fresh air, enjoying the sun, and getting positive physical activity. These benefits can help you maintain both your physical and mental health. But while there are a lot of benefits to working outdoors, you should prepare yourself for extreme sun exposure.

Being exposed to the sun without protection in the form of sunscreen and other protectants can result in serious health issues down the line. One of the highest risks of high sun exposure is the possibility of developing skin cancer.

But there are things you can do now to reduce the risk. For example, tractor canopies protect you from the sun and its harmful effects. Additionally, getting into the habit of wearing sunscreen can help you reduce the risk of the harmful effects of the sun.

Excessive Stress

We all know that stress can majorly affect your mood and your health. But while you may already know that stress can affect your life and your health, it can be easy to downplay the effects of stress when you’re picking a career. But take it seriously as you’re thinking about which career to pick.

Certain careers like working in the emergency room or as a defense attorney tend to be careers where stress is incredibly high. And while there are other great benefits and reasons to go into these fields, you should do your work to be prepared for this kind of stress. Try to get as much exposure to the field as you can so that you understand what you are getting into.


Another important occupational hazard you should be prepared for depending on the field you go into is the possibility of catching a disease. This has become all the more apparent during the COVID pandemic. As a frontline healthcare worker, you sign up for serving those who are injured, sick, and sometimes diseased.

While this risk of enduring painful disease is real, there are important things you can do to work against that hazard. Choose to prioritize your health in the workplace. Do your research to know what the industry standard is for your field when it comes to safety. And if your workplace doesn’t adhere to those standards, do your work to change the situation. It will be worth it.

Working with Heavy Machinery

Depending on the specific field you work in, working with heavy machinery could be something you are up against. While for the most part, you can prevent serious injury caused as a result of working with heavy machinery, there are a few things you should be aware of if you are going into construction of any kind, whether plumbing, road construction, or carpentry.

Of all injuries that occur when working with heavy machinery, the most common injuries include falls and electrocution. Understand that you might encounter these types of injuries and do your best to adopt smart habits and safety procedures.

While there are so many occupational hazards to be wary of, ultimately, there isn’t a job out there that has zero downsides to it. You might have a job that has a low immediate risk to your health but that won’t allow you to make enough for your family. As you think about all the factors relating to your decision, be incredibly careful to identify your priorities.

Read this next: How to Stay Healthy When Working a 9-5 Office Job

Simon Greenberg

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