Doctor comments on occupational illness of five types of job :taxi driver, cook, teacher, cleaner and grandparent who take care of grandchildren
Occupational illnesses are conditions that results from exposure in a workplace to a physical, chemical or biological agent which result in impairing the health of the worker. In Singapore, one of the most common occupational illness are ergonomic hazards (bad work design). Ergonomic injuries usually comes from poor body posture or position while working, also from repetitive motion. Causing musculoskeletal problems such as low back pain, neck pain and knee pain. Today we will be focusing on five major types of jobs: Taxi driver, cook/chef, teacher, cleaner and grandparents who take care of grandchildren.
Our bodies were designed to move. Anything that inhibits our healthy, normal movement will cause symptoms, like pain, over time. While traumas can cause pain, it is more often our daily habits that build up over time. Our lifestyles have become so unnatural with the dependency on chairs that our lower back joints begin to degenerate in response to lack of movement. Moreover, our muscles have become deconditioned due our dependence on chairs. When we do move, our muscles are unbalanced (some weak, some too tight) and our joints move improperly. This improper joint motion triggers inflammation in the body. The inflammation will irritate the nerves, and we begin to feel symptoms, such as pain.
1. Taxi Driver
Occupational illness (work hazards) have been a major cause of concern in driving industry especially in taxi drivers. Drivers are exposed to a number of health problems such as:
- – Musculoskeletal problems due to prolong hours of sitting on the road, in poor posture with limited space for flexing and movement of limbs ie arms constantly straining from holding the steering wheel, shoulders hunching forward with head in forward position. Research has shown that increased duration of driving for more than 12 hours/day and at least 5 days/week can cause postural strain on musculoskeletal system, leading to low back pain and knee pain.
- – Emotional stress from rude gestures and behavior by other drivers and passengers on top of smoking and lack of sleep all result in cardiovascular symptoms ie hypertension, headache.
- – Gastrointestinal symptoms from alcohol and tabacco intake, irregular meal times and sleep from shift work.
Chef jobs are stressful and physically demanding. Many chefs try to work very quickly, which causes slips and falls. You can contract food-borne illnesses such as salmonella, or cut yourself on razor-sharp knives and slicing equipment. Cuts, burns, and falls are among the most common injuries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. Case Demographic Characteristics for Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses Involving Days Away from Work. Table R4 (2007 & 2006).
Additionally, standing all day on hard cement floors, often without a single break. 12-hour days, seven-day work week leads to multiple occupational illnesses such as:
- – Heat exhaustion from standing between ovens and stoves.
- – Musculoskeletal problems such as back and foot pain from hunching over counters for many hours leads to weak back and stomach muscles, resulting in pot bellies. Chopping food with sharp knives, year after year, can lead to shoulder tendonitis. In addition to carpal tunnel syndrome, or repetitive stress injury as a result of using tongs for food handling and serving.
According to a new study, Teachers are much more likely than people with other jobs to be diagnosed with progressive speech and language disorders such as laryngitis, dry throat, vocal fatique http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=174662
Prolong standing, ‘being on stage’’ for six or more hours per day causing back and leg pains.
Prolonged sitting or static posture with repetitive motion such as marking students’ homework/ exam papers is uncomfortable thus increase vulnerability to musculoskeletal injury/pain such as carpal tunnel syndrome (gripping items tightly or moving wrist into uncomfortable position repetitively) http://www.allsands.com/Health/Diseases/carpaltunnelsy_bta_gn.html
And ofcourse , picking up “kiddie diseases”, colds, flu and other infectious diseases from students.
Cleaners are exposed to various occupational illnesses, most commonly respiratory diseases such as asthma and skin diseases such as hand dermatitis, as a result of exposure to cleaning products, wet work environment, rubber latex and poor indoor air quality
- – Infectious diseases are also common due to exposure to broken glass and uncapped needles in the trash.
- – Musculoskeletal disorders associated with several physical stressors (e.g., awkward postures, prolonged standing) and psychosocial stressors (e.g., monotonous job, low potential for promotion).
- – Mental disorders were also associated with psychosocial stressors and societal stigma.
Grandparents are special people, not for giving love or gifts, but for putting their bodies on the line. Here are a list of illnesses and traumas grandparents face frequently when looking after their grandchildren:
- – Colds, flu and other contagious diseases from the little ones
- – Injuries from thrown objects
- – Loud-noise deafness from the screams and cries
- – Muscle strains/strain and hernias from lifting heavy objects (including grandchildren)
- – Sunburn and dehydration from playing outside
Written by: Dr Lisabel