It’s an undeniable fact that some jobs are more dangerous than others. Those working in construction, agriculture or the fishing industries, for example, are arguably more likely to be affected by occupational illness or accidents than those who work in less risky environments. Having said that, even those occupations that are considered to be relatively safe may well pose a higher risk of one condition or another. For example, whilst the construction sector might be considered dangerous due to a greater risk of falls, those in offices might be at more risk of contracting infections such as colds and flu that are easily passed around an enclosed, air-conditioned environment.
When we launched our new, enhanced online system in September we took prevalence rates of occupational illness and injury into account when selecting those sectors that might benefit the most from our free guidance on work health issues. One such sector was the fishing industry. The UK is one of the main fishing countries in the world, and fishing is one of its most dangerous occupations. Long hours, extreme weather and working with heavy machinery contribute to the high mortality rate in fishermen. There is also a risk of asthma and allergies due to modern fish filleting machines and high pressure hoses that throw high levels of fish protein into the air, which can be inhaled causing health problems in workers.
Interestingly, the fishing industry has been attracting some considerable media attention this week with the announcement by TV and radio presenter Chris Evans that he is supporting the Fishwives Choir in their bid to get their song ‘When the Boat Comes In’ to poll position in the charts. All money raised by the Fishwives Choir goes to the Fishermen’s Mission, a charity that provides emergency support and practical care to fishermen and their families.
Deep-sea fishing is considered to be the most dangerous peacetime occupation, but you don’t need to be involved in such a dangerous activity to be at risk of work-related ill health. As many organisations don’t have access to in-house occupational health support, the free Health for Work Adviceline is available to offer help with any queries regarding the effect of a person’s health on their ability to work or the extent to which work may be affecting their health. Call Freephone 0800 0 77 88 44 to speak to an occupational health professional.