Business is Bad for Your Body

Business is Bad for Your Body

Some jobs are obviously dangerous. Others take a more indirect approach to murdering you.

A tiger trainer, for example, is aware their arm could get torn of by an angry tiger on a given workday. A construction or maintenance worker performing tasks at dangerous heights knows that a fall is very possible. Risks like these are overt and safety steps are (hopefully) taken to prevent serious harm.

But for millions of workers, risks that are out of sight are also frequently also out of mind. People that work in office settings might not consider their job to be dangerous. But, given enough time, this type of work can still be very bad for your body.

 

Stress Will Kill You

Stress is not given the credit it deserves for being a major-league killer. It’s an inevitable part of life, true, but so are spiders. And most people do their best to avoid spiders.

Left unchecked, stress can mess with our physiology in lots of different ways. It can cause things like headaches, chest pain, higher blood pressure, hypertension, mood problems, anxiety, overeating, poor problem solving abilities, hormone disruptions, physical changes in the brain, memory problems, immune system suppression, and – perhaps most disturbing – reproductive system shutdowns. In fact, experts say stress may even be the world’s most effective contraceptive.

It’s no joke. Take stress seriously or suffer.

 

Microbial Flow

Germs are everywhere in offices. Generally, our keyboards are said to be the filthiest of all office places, but other commonly touched surfaces are also to blame. Phones, door handles,

One unfortunate consequence of the modern office setting is an increased communicability of germs. Open office settings have become the norm, but they also allow for the easier free flow exchange of germs. In fact, one study conducted in 2011 found that “occupants in open-plan offices (>6 persons) had 62% more days of sickness absence.”

 

Crooked Spines, Shifting Bones

Work duties are performed in many different positions – sitting, standing, etc. Over a long enough time, our posture and the ergonomics of our work environment can alter our bodies in a variety of ways.

Aches and pains caused by poor posture are probably the most common examples of ill ergonomic effects, particularly in the neck and back areas. Extreme examples can produce curvature of the spine, pinched nerves, and shifted bones.

Slouching can even lead to lung and digestive problems caused by the compression of the vital organs, which in turn can cause poor oxygenation and metabolism dysfunction.

 

Exploding Feet

Have you ever felt like your feet are going to burst out of your shoes? That’s the blood pooling in your lower extremities from sitting or standing too long. Turns out, movement is an essential mechanism for successful circulation throughout our cardiovascular systems. Your body is fighting against gravity to push the blood back up your legs.

Varicose veins are a common result of this pooling, as is swelling in the legs. The worst cases may present blood clots or even potentially deadly deep vein thrombosis.

 

Poison Air

Air pollutants can make people sick in a whole bunch of ways, but we most often think about them as an exterior, environmental problem. That’s very much not true, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In fact, some estimates report the air inside of a building can be up to 100 times dirtier than outside, containing all manner of toxic contaminants.

Older buildings may contain asbestos, printers and copiers produce ozone, toner particles can enter the body, dust and bacteria can travel throughout an HVAC system, carpets and other fibers can release toxins years after instillation, mold or mildews can form, common cleaners can release toxic vapors, some equipment can release smog, and much more. All of these compounds come together in one place: our lungs.

 

Not as Safe as You Think

If we brush off these hazardous health concerns now, they’re eventually going to hurt us later. Companies need to incorporate these items into their safety protocols to protect workers, save money, and improve performance by building a healthy company. With just a little planning, almost all of the health problems resulting from these threats can be eliminated or mitigated.

 

 


Sources: Backfit Health & Spine; Texas A&M Health; Verywell Health; Psychology Today; U.S. EPA; Business Insider; OHS; National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health; Hackensack Meridian Health, et al.

Category Features, Healthcare