To those working white-collar jobs, being involved in workplace injuries may be unheard of. Unless it’s an ergonomic injury, life-threatening injuries are quite low if you’re sitting at a desk all day long. On the other hand, there are fields where it’s common to work in a high-risk environment. This is where employees are face to face with real dangers as they chase a buck to bring food on the table. 

Some fields will require employees to work in confined spaces when performing different tasks. Others may require that you work outdoors, but while at it, you’re either handling hazardous chemicals or working with dangerous tools and equipment. For instance, the construction and mining industries are known for their perilous working environments because in most cases, employees are usually subjected to hazardous materials or working at high altitudes. In these cases, there are so many risk factors involved and an increased risk of serious injuries.

Though the employer is mandated to ensure the safety of employees while at work, it’s still necessary for the employee to ensure that they are safe at all times while on the job. Working on a high-risk environment requires a different approach to safety and risk management. There needs to be a contingency plan that helps to minimize, if not to prevent workplace injuries. This having been said, there are so many people working in high-risk environments and they have no idea on how to ensure for their safety and what to do in case they are injured while on the job. If working in a high-risk environment, you definitely ought to read the pointers that follow.

Risk factors while working in high-risk environments

Let’s face it, every job comes with its set of risk factors. Nevertheless, certain fields will require specialized skills because of the risks involved. The magnitude of the risks will vary from one job to the other. In addition to this, it will also depend on your geographic location, job sector, and the individual. It’s important that when working in high-risk environments, you always ensure that you know your rights as a worker and also know what to do in the event that you’re injured while on the job. Richard Console, from Console Associates PC says that black ice – the invisible ice that forms on surfaces after a sudden drop of temperature – is quite a common cause of a slip and fall accident that could cause permanent injuries. It’s a risk that is more common in outdoor work environments, and employers should take the responsibility of providing protective gear such as skid-proof boots, to minimize the risk of slipping and falling, not only for the people working at the work site, but also onlookers and visitors at the site. On this note, let’s take a look at some of the most dangerous occupations that may require you to work in high-risk environments?

Construction

The construction industry is perhaps one of the most dangerous occupations. This is because of the chaotic work environment, workers are subjected to. In addition to this, it may also be due to the many workplace hazards associated with the construction industry. The most common injuries in the construction industry include accidents related to the use of certain equipment, slipping and falling from scaffolding, explosions, electrocution, and injuries resulting from repetitive motion.

Health Care Industry

We can all remember the unfortunate Ebola outbreak in DRC Congo. Dozens of healthcare providers were deployed to help in managing the situation. However, though experienced, some lost their lives while working in the Ebola quarantine camps. This is just an example of a single scenario where doctors have to put their lives on the line to save lives.

Manufacturing Industry

The manufacturing industry employs millions of people across the globe. We rely on this industry for almost all household goods. Nevertheless, little do we know about the risks faced by those working in the manufacturing industry. For starters, they handle harmful chemicals while others operate machines. Most accidents in the manufacturing industry may happen as a result of poor safety standards, lack of machinery maintenance, and lack of sufficient training. Injuries sustained in machinery accidents are severe if not fatal. Anyone working in this industry need to have received training on how to handle chemicals and how to operate machinery.

How to prevent injuries in high-risk occupations

The fact that you’re working in a high-risk environment means that you love what you do, which, unless you’re forced by circumstances, could mean that changing your occupation is out of the question. Nonetheless, there are various ways of ensuring that you prevent some accidents from happening. No one wants to be injured while on the job, regardless of their occupation. It’s for this reason that you need to be proactive in reducing workplace injuries in your field. But how can injuries be prevented or at least minimized in high-risk environments.

  • Mitigate risks – The first thing to do regardless of your job description is to identify the risk factors. Once identified, you’ll need to fix the various aspects of the risks such as repairing or replacing faulty equipment or changing workplace operations. You may not be able to do this if you’re not the employer, but suggesting the same can go a long way in protecting you and your colleagues from the unforeseeable. 
  • Implementing training – Both employers and employees must receive training on how to identify risks while at the workplace and how to avoid workplace injuries. In addition to this, first aid training is also an added advantage as it helps to equip employees on how to respond to various accidents when they occur.
  • Improving the workplace environment – One thing to note is that improving workplace safety is a process that evolves every day. As an employee, it’s always important to learn new ways of protecting yourself while at work and reporting any developing hazards to your employer.

While working in a high-risk environment, the best thing to do is to prevent injuries from happening. Unfortunately, some risks cannot be completely eliminated, not forgetting how costly the treatment for injuries resulting from such accidents can be financially, physically, and emotionally. This is why you’ll need to be covered or cushioned so that in the eventuality that you’re injured while on the job, your treatment and recovery from the workplace injury will be catered for. If you guessed right, this is where workers’ compensation insurance comes in handy. Before enrolling in any type of job where occupational hazards are apparent, you need to ensure that your employer has a worker’s compensation insurance. In case you’re injured on the job, workers’ comp will help to cover for: 

  • Medical, recovery, and rehabilitation costs
  • Lost income benefits
  • In case of death – funeral expenses
  • Death benefits

In many occupations, there are dozens if not, hundreds of risks to be expected. However, some jobs subject workers to riskier environments and conditions than others. As an employee, you need to take the necessary precautions towards ensuring that you’re safe and prepared. As they say, to be forewarned is to be forearmed and prevention is better than cure. With the above information in mind, you’re well informed and may continue working in a high-risk environment at ease.  

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Vicky Charles

Vicky is a single mother, writer and card reader.

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