A Comparative Study on the Impact of Working Conditions on the Health of Workers

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There is a cumulative negative impact of working in environmentally dangerous and physically demanding job on the health of the workers. However, the consequences could differ substantially across race, education groups and age. Individuals who are employed in poor working conditions experience deterioration of their health. The characteristics of the job are more detrimental to the health of older workers and females compared to younger workers and men. Furthermore, the detrimental effects of poor health worsen with the time of exposure to the conditions of the job (Chin, Policy, & Senior, 2014).

The main determinant or factor that has affected my health as an individual is the working conditions. My previous exposure to the working of a fertilizer making plant has placed my life in a more detrimental position. Although I did not work there for a very long time because I went to  the factory for the attachment program, the short stint I had there exposed me to frequent and chronic coughs because of the unending dust that I inhaled in during work. The department that I had been allocated to was involved with the packaging of the bags of cement (Blattman & Dercon, 2016).

Apart from dust, I also encountered other health determinants such as the ease of getting injured while on duty. Since my job entailed working as a supervisor to the workers during the loading and offloading of the bags of cement to the conveyor and also loading the cement bags to the tracks to be transported to the market and storage, such dangerous determinants of health had a tremendous effect on my health and my colleagues. There were very high chances of getting injured by the cement bags that fall from the conveyor accidentally. Furthermore, some of the workers get overwhelmed by the weight of the heavy bags of cement, and they fall during the transit of the load to the storage locations. Apart from the threat of the falling packed cement bags, there was also another threat of frequent dust falling on the eyes. Although the company provided protective equipment to the workers, there was still the danger of dust finding its way to the sensitive organs of the body such the eyes and the, nose, ears and even the mouth (Benach et al., 2014).

Dust particles differ in size from very visible to invisible. Smaller particles take a longer time in the air and also travel further. The large particles find their way into the air quite easily from the point of production. Such dust particles formed the dust layers that accumulated on the conveyor, furniture and factory machinery. The larger dust particles have the tendencies of getting trapped and lodged in the mouth and nose. Their effect of the dust is exacerbated when one breath in and out and at the same time, dust particles can easily be swallowed through the gut when they accumulate in the nose and mouth. The finer and smaller particles of dust that are invisible have a higher chance of penetrating to the lungs whereas the ultrafine particles have the propensity of directly getting absorbed into the blood stream.

How dust particles impact health

The size and type of dust particles play a bigger role in determining the toxic levels of the dust. Nonetheless, the possible threats that the dust may have on the health is determined by the quantity of dust available in the air and how long the body gets exposed to the air. The inhaled dust particles may cause the following when inhaled by an individual. The first symptom includes burning irritation of the eyes. Moreover, dust causes sneezing, coughing, lethal asthma attacks and hay fever. Few individuals with respiratory complications such as asthma and chronic obstructive airways disease (COAD) worsen their conditions when working in an environment of intense emission of dust. Although, there is no current evidence that links dust to asthma, the continuous breathing of dust for a long time slows down the functions of the lungs and also triggers chronic diseases such as heart complications and chronic bronchitis. Therefore, the excessive emission of the industrial dust that I experienced during my attachment to the fertilizer making company caused numerous complications to my body that related to the above-described impacts.

Injuries and accidents at the place of work

Workplace injuries may have a huge effect on the health of an individual. Such injuries cause body injuries such as bleeding, breakage of the bones, loss of essential body organs such as the knees. Employees who suffer adverse body harm caused by injuries at the place of work can lead to a reduction in the morale of the staff, reduction in the productivity of the company, adverse decline in sales and some extent closure of the business (Picchio & Van Ours,2017).

Although accidents frequently happen at the place of work and also play a bigger role in determining the health of an individual and in most instances leading to bad health, employees who get injured on duty are entitled to claim compensation from the company. Safety officers are normally encouraged to record accidents in the log for insurance cover. With work injuries in the place of work being a potent determinant of health, the employer has the responsibility of ensuring that the employees understand their responsibility and rights regarding the accidents happening at the place of work due to precarious working conditions. Precarious working conditions that lead to accidents, being a potent determinant of health, the territory and state laws have mandated all employers to report all events such as dangerous accidents that lead to death, minor injuries and even in adverse circumstances deaths. To demonstrate that injuries at the place of work play a big role in determining the well-being of an individual, employers are encouraged to provide reasonable steps by offering an injured worker with light and suitable duties while being paid compensation packages (Picchio & Van Ours,2017).

Stress at the place of work

Many people encounter stress and depression on the job at some time in their careers. Nonetheless, the problem more dangerous and pervasive than certain employees may realize. During the short stint that I had while working in the fertilizer manufacturing and packaging company, I encountered several cases of people suffering from stress caused by the pressures of work.

Stress can also lead to the increase in the accidents happening at the place of work. According to health and safety magazine, research shows that majority of safety problems are as a result of human error which is caused by work-related stress. Furthermore, stress may indirectly cause injuries at the place of work because of the stress coping mechanisms such as heavy consumption of alcohol. Consumption of alcohol can lead to poor concentration at the place of work thus leading to injuries (Nilsson, 2017). Other stressors at work can cause inattention and fatigue, and correspondingly injury and accidents, including fear of being laid off, excessive workload, infrequent breaks and unreasonable performance demands.

References

Nilsson, J. P. (2017). Alcohol availability, prenatal conditions, and long-term economic             outcomes. Journal of Political Economy, 125(4), 1149-1207.

Picchio, M., & Van Ours, J. C. (2017). Temporary jobs and the severity of workplace accidents.        Journal of safety research, 61, 41-51.

Blattman, C., & Dercon, S. (2016). Occupational choice in early industrializing societies:         Experimental evidence on the income and health effects of industrial and entrepreneurial            work (No. w22683). National Bureau of Economic Research.

Chin, W. A., Policy, A., & Senior, M. R. G. (2014). DETERMINANTS OF HEALTH. The The,          38, 29.

Benach, J., Vives, A., Amable, M., Vanroelen, C., Tarafa, G., & Muntaner, C. (2014). Precarious       employment: understanding an emerging social determinant of health. Annual review of        public health, 35.

October 13, 2023
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