There are certain injuries, diseases and problems that are work related. The most common work related diseases are:
- Occupational asthma is the most common work related lung disease in the western world. A person may have wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing with asthma caused by work in a particular environment. Dust, pollen, chemical fumes, gases, animal proteins, tobacco, synthetic dyes can all be the cause for this disease as can other seemingly benign substances such as baker’s flour etc.
- Vibration injuries are another common causative factor which is work related. Operating certain kinds of machinery and being exposed to certain physical stressors can cause a number of problems such as overexertion, strenuous or repetitive movements, back pain, dislocation, sprain and strain of joints and ligaments of the knee and inguinal hernia. White Finger Vibration is an example of vibration injury, which is caused by working with tools such as chipping hammers, concrete breakers, vibrating pokers, sanders, angle grinders, hammer drills scrabblers, jigsaws, vibratory compactors, sanders etc. This is characterized by the fingers turning white, tingling and numbness.
- Dermatitis is another commonly occurring problem that is work related. Certain occupations mean working with several hazardous or potentially hazardous substances which can cause a number of skin ailments. Having your hands wet over extended periods during the day can cause skin problems, or there could be bacterial or mechanical properties that cause damage such as abrasion etc. Here the hands are most at risk.
- Certain Musculoskeletal disorders are another common work related problem. Injuries relating to the neck, shoulders, elbow, hand etc. are commonly occurring problems. Examples are carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, etc.
- Stress is another occupation hazard that is often poorly understood and diagnosed. The workplace can be the reason for several stresses, which are not related to physical injury but rather are psychological in nature. Things that contribute to work related stress could be factors such as long hours, heavy workload, job insecurity, fear of redundancy, and work related conflicts including those with coworkers. This is a significant health and safety issue.
The reason that it is important to identify work related injuries and stresses is that a person should be informed and aware of the causes of his or her ailments and also of the possibility of being able to make a claim for the injury if and when required.