The top ten jobs that could be hurting your health

It’s not just bad breath dentists have to deal with, it could be poor health. An analysis of the ‘unhealthiest’ jobs in the US has ranked dentists in the inglorious top spot.

Surprisingly, more than half of the top ten ‘unhealthy’ jobs were medical or healthcare professions. Exposure to radiation, contaminants, disease and infections were among the major health risks.

Dentists, anaesthetists, vets, podiatrists, histological technicians and surgical assistants all made the list.

Flight attendants, customs inspectors, wastewater technicians and stationary engineers were also deemed ‘risky’ careers from a health perspective.

The health risks in 974 occupations were compared using data from the Occupational Information Network from the US Department of Labor.

Using O*NET, Business Insider UK ranked each job based on six health risks in the database including; exposure to hazardous conditions, exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings and time spent sitting down. 

Are you in the ‘top ten’?

1. Dentists, dental surgeons, and dental assistants

Key health risks

  • Exposure to contaminants
  • Exposure to disease and infections
  • Time spent sitting

2. Flight attendants

Key health risks

  • Exposure to contaminants
  • Exposure to disease and infections
  • Exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings

3. Anaesthesiologists, nurse anaesthetists, and anaesthesiologist assistants

Key health risks

  • Exposure to disease and infections
  • Exposure to contaminants
  • Exposure to radiation

4. Veterinarians and veterinary assistants and technicians

Key health risks

  • Exposure to disease and infections
  • Exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings
  • Exposure to contaminants

5. Podiatrists

Key health risks:

  • Exposure to disease and infections
  • Exposure to radiation
  • Exposure to contaminants

6. Immigration and customs inspectors

Key health risks:

  • Exposure to contaminants
  • Exposure to disease and infections
  • Exposure to radiation

7. Histotechnologists and histologic technicians (a clinical laboratory technician who prepares historical slides from body tissue for examination by a pathologist)

Key health risks:

  • Exposure to hazardous conditions
  • Exposure to contaminants
  • Exposure to disease and infections

8. Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators

Key health risks:

  • Exposure to contaminants
  • Exposure to hazardous conditions
  • Exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings

9. Stationary engineers and boiler operators

Key health risks:

  • Exposure to contaminants
  • Exposure to hazardous conditions
  • Exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings

10. Surgical and medical assistants, technologists, and technicians

Key health risks

  • Exposure to disease and infections
  • Exposure to contaminants
  • Exposure to hazardous conditions
surgeons operating in theatre

Bupa National Medical Director Dr Rob Grenfell says most of these ‘health risks’ can be avoided if the proper occupational health and safety practices are followed. 

“For example, those who work in industries exposed to radiation have a number of required monitoring activities,” says Dr Grenfell.

According to Dr Grenfell the most common exposure issue all workplaces face is infection, particularly to cold and flu in winter months.

“It’s important to stay at home if you’re sick with the flu to limit the spread of infection and consider getting yourself vaccinated,” he says.

Dr Grenfell says time spent sitting is a major problem for those working in a variety of industries.

 “Sitting has been labelled as the new tobacco and what’s meant by that is the contribution of sedentary behaviour at work can have a significant detrimental effect on your health and wellbeing,” says Dr Grenfell.

“It’s important to continue to do some physical activities at work, for example having standing tables, take the stairs, go for walking meetings,” he says.

Dr Grenfell says mental health within the workplace is another big issue and employers should do all they can to ensure staff have access to support and training.

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