Long term health conditions: How to avoid them when working

While a job might pay the bills, some people unfortunately take home more than a wage. In fact, serious long term health conditions can arise if the correct precautions are not taken while carrying out any role.

Therefore, whatever industry you work in, it’s important you know the signs of key health issues that arise from working and how to combat these should you recognise them. Here are the three most common issues to take note of:

RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury)

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)This injury isn’t just reserved for strenuous tasks, even those working in offices can suffer with RSI as they make the same movements regularly throughout the day. The condition usually affects people’s forearms, elbows, hands, wrists, neck and shoulders – so, for example, office workers typing and using a mouse, factory workers moving the same equipment or someone who ices cakes every day may discover that they have symptoms of RSI in their limbs.

Prevention: The Safety Act of 1974 and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 requires employers to raise awareness of RSI in the workplace, and it is important you take regular breaks from work that involves any repetitive movement for long periods of time and stretch the area out.

Respiratory issues

For those working in construction, respiratory issues can occur due to the fact that the air is filled with dust and debris. Ballast dust is a common issue for those in rail industry and construction when working with and moving large amounts of ballast. This can cause silicosis, for which there is no cure and causes symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath and tightening of the chest.

Prevention: Respiratory issues are common but can be prevented with the right Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Your employer should supply you with personal protective equipment as standard. Dust masks are effective in protecting the wearer against inhaling dust and debris and should be used especially when ballast dust is prevalent.


If you work in a loud environment, whether that be a factory, with live music or in construction, the sounds can cause damage to your ears creating a longstanding issue with your hearing. Tinnitus is associated with a ‘ringing in the ears’ but people have also noted buzzing, grinding, whistling and humming noises when suffering with the condition. The condition can be treated via counselling, cognitive behavourial therapy and listening to white noise but these are not ‘cures’.

Prevention: Ear protection is one of the easiest solutions for preventing the effects of tinnitus. Wear quality noise cancelling headphones or earpieces so that you don’t hear, say, the pneumatic drill so loudly while you’re working, protecting your ears at the same time. Employers should provide this piece of equipment if the noise decibel is above 85 under the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 Act.

Take note of these three health conditions and ensure you are protected, whatever you industry you are carving a career in!

Artile by Patrick Vernon on behalf of Safe Aid Supplies