We take a lot of things for granted — the common, the mundane, the minute, and the trivial. Unfortunately, oftentimes, we also take for granted people who diligently do their jobs to make our community a better place.
This includes people who face daily occupational hazards like law enforcers and soldiers that keep the peace, construction workers that build structures, operators at nuclear plants, even folks who help keep our septic tanks clean and sanitary.
Occupational Hazard Defined
By definition, an occupational hazard is defined as health and environmental risks that a worker is exposed to daily. It involves the dangers that go with the jobs they have. It is something unpleasant that a person experiences or suffers in the line of duty or an aftereffect of it.
Types of Occupational Hazards
When we talk about occupational hazards, four types come to mind:
Biological hazards, or biohazards, involve biological substances that are potentially harmful to the health of human beings and living organisms, such as biological toxins and viruses.
A chemical hazard is where one is exposed to harmful chemicals in the workplace. This exposure, whether momentary or long-term exposure, can affect a person’s health and make them suffer acute or long-term illnesses.
Physical hazards are brought about by external factors, circumstances, or agents that could cause injuries and sicknesses on a person. While in some industries they are unavoidable (mining, construction, sports), safety standards and protocols have been implemented to reduce the risks of physical injury in workplaces.
Anything that could cause an employee psychological or psychiatric injury or illness can be considered a psychosocial hazard. Things that could negatively affect a person’s psychological health, like workplace violence, stress, and harassment, are psychosocial hazards.
Sanitary and Sewage Health Hazards
Maintaining and cleaning our septic tanks is vital and important to our health and the environment. The procedure prevents the inconvenience brought about by backed-up plumbing, foul odor from coming out of your drains, and septic system failure.
This is where professional help is needed and valued. Sanitary and sewage workers are exposed to several dangers as they help maintain our septic tanks and sewage systems.
Exposure to harmful gases
Septic systems are large contributors to wastewater that lead to ground contamination. Harmful gases, such as methane, carbon monoxide, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide are contained in these tanks.
Weekly stooping and lifting can greatly affect a person’s posture and cause spinal abnormalities, especially if done for an extended period. Most workers complain of experiencing spinal problems such as the neck, upper back, and lower back pains.
Infections and diseases
The most common effects of infections studied among this people group are hepatitis, leptospirosis, and helicobacter pylori. The infections usually take place through hand-to-mouth contact (from eating, smoking or drinking), skin contact (cuts, wounds, and scratches), and inhalation of mist, dust or aerosol.
Exposure to certain substances and chemicals leads to workers experiencing skin conditions like simple irritations, rashes or reddening to having blisters and flaking.
Cleaning and maintaining septic tanks should never be taken lightly, more importantly, the people who help maintain them. The next time you see or hire a sanitary and sewage worker, thank them for helping keep your home and neighborhood clean and safe.