Occupational Job Hazards Could Leave You Looking Like This Guy

Occupational hazards are, most of the time, a risk we are willing to take when accepting a job. Falling from a ladder and breaking your arm is what most people think of when the term “occupational hazard” comes to mind. However, some occupational hazards come from exposure to harmful substances that can not only make you sick, but can even cause death. There are many occupations where you are exposed to potentially deadly levels of substances and may not even know it. Below are some substances that cause major health problems, including death, and the occupations that repeatedly expose you to them.


Asbestos is practically in everything. Consequently, many industries have some level of exposure to asbestos, although if you have worked — or currently work — in construction, you most assuredly have been exposed to asbestos as it is the highest ranking occupation for asbestos exposure. Exposure to asbestos can lead to a variety of breathing illnesses — most noticeably, mesothelioma and occupational exposure is the leading cause of asbestos-related illnesses. Asbestos has long been known to be cancerous, but the results of such findings were kept hidden and haven’t been widely known until recently.

Silica Dust

Any time you grind, drill, or cut stone such as brick, concrete, or rock, it creates respirable crystalline silica — or silica dust. The inhalation of silica dust can lead to debilitating lung problems, cancer, and most commonly silicosis. Exposure to crystalline silica and silica dust illnesses has gotten so bad that OSHA has recently implemented rules in an attempt to regulate the amount of exposure to silica dust for employees on the job. Most cases have been found in the construction and mining industries.


Used mostly as a preservative for everything from wood to biological specimens, you can be exposed to formaldehyde by inhaling it as a gas, or it can be absorbed through the skin as a liquid. Formaldehyde has been shown to cause cancer, such as leukemia. Industries at risk for long-term formaldehyde exposure include anyone who work with the preservation of goods such as wood, and healthcare professionals such as morticians, and scientific researchers.


Exposure to lead products such as paint in our homes has become severely reduced or completely removed because of known health hazards. However, many occupations require you to work closely with lead, creating ample opportunity for the ingestion and inhalation of lead. Prolonged exposure to lead can produce lead poisoning and create many problems: heart disease, fertility problems, but perhaps the most life threatening is that it is a possible cause of a variety of cancers. Occupations that expose you to lead involve an auto mechanic as lead in found in auto parts, lead miner, and since lead is found in ammunition — police officers.

Diesel Fumes

Diesel powered equipment is relied upon for just about any industry, and many workers in transportation, construction, and agriculture are breathing in diesel exhaust every day. This means that if you are in one of these industries, you are breathing in carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and small amounts of metallic compounds — among other things. Long term exposure to diesel fumes can lead to clots in the lungs which can lead to a stroke. Another prominent disease diesel fumes facilitate is lung cancer.

Occupational hazards are one thing, but repeated exposure to harmful chemicals and substances can lead to a much bigger problem. It is important to know when and where you are being exposed to these substances and what to do in case of injury or terminal illness.

We are exposed to harmful chemicals, dust, and fumes in our everyday lives — but not for very long and not at toxic levels. When you accept a job, you may be working around harmful substances all day, every day. Which can be pointing you toward serious illness or death, whether you know it or not.  

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