We work for a living but more often that not, we don’t realise what slogging our asses day in and day out is doing to our bodies. Jobs come with many occupational hazards that we conveniently ignore. Every job has its own health hazards. While a desk job requiring one to sit for long hours has an adverse impact on the back, someone whose job includes working with chemicals has different hazards. 

To assess the risk associated with different professions, The Independent conducted a study and listed out the most unhealthy jobs. While the data is taken from the Occupational Information Network of US, we can imagine the health risk posed to workers in India who are employed in similar jobs, given the lax rules surrounding employees safety.

Based on ranking, here are 27 occupations that pose the worst health-risk. A few of them have a tie, so they’re listed under the same number:

24. Radiologists

Radiologists use X-rays and radioactive materials to examine and diagnose disorders and diseases. The time that they spend exposing themselves to radiations and diseases makes it a profession with umpteen health hazards. 

Unhealthiness score: 52.8


Metal-refining furnace operators and tenders

People in this profession operate furnaces meant to melt and refine metal, which is then used to produce specified types of steel. They have a risk of exposure to contaminants and other hazardous situations such as getting minor burns, cuts, bites or stings.  

Unhealthiness score: 52.8


Embalmers prepare bodies for burials according to the legal procedures, which puts them at a risk of exposure to diseases, infections and other contaminants.

Unhealthiness score: 52.8


Elevator installers and repairers

Workers who install and repair elevators are at a risk of sustaining serious injuries due to burns and cuts while performing their job. 

Unhealthiness score: 52.8

23. Nuclear medicine technologists

While their profession serves people, the nuclear medicine technologists face bio-hazard safety issues due to the exposure to radioactive material for diagnostic diseases.

Unhealthiness score: 53.0


22. Refrigeration mechanics and installers

Potential hazards of this profession include cuts, burns, electrical shock, muscle strains, and other injuries as workers handle heavy equipment while installing and repairing industrial and commercial refrigerating systems. 

Unhealthiness score: 53.3

21. Critical care nurses

Nurses looking after patients in the critical or coronary care units are also at a high risk of catching infections and communicable diseases. 

Unhealthiness score: 53.5


19. Service unit operators 

Service unit operators in the oil, gas, and mining sector are responsible for operating equipment to increase oil flow from the oil producing wells, or removing stuck pipes and other obstructions from drilling wells. 

Unhealthiness score: 53.7

Chemical plant and system operators

Those controlling chemical processes of machines are exposed to hazardous conditions such as health risks from exposure to chemicals. 

Unhealthiness score: 53.7


17. Emergency medical technicians and paramedics

Medical technicians and paramedic professionals assess injuries, handle emergency situations and help extricate trapped individuals. They provide services to injured people, which exposes them to health risk from contaminants, diseases, and infections. 

Unhealthiness score: 54.0

Continuous mining-machine operators

Workers in the mining industry operate machines that rip coal, metal, and other non-metal ores, and load them onto conveyors or shuttle cars. Their working conditions expose them to dust, contaminants and a risk of physical injury through burns, cuts, and bites. 

Unhealthiness score: 54.0


16. Refractory materials repairers 

These workers use refractory materials, which retains its strength at high temperatures, to build or repair equipment like furnaces, kilns, cupolas, boilers, converters, soaking pits, and ovens.

Unhealthiness score: 54.8

15. Refuse and recyclable material collectors

Workers who collect and dump refuse and recyclable materials into trucks are also exposed to contaminants and diseases. 

Unhealthiness score: 55.0


14. Nuclear equipment operation technicians

This job includes operating equipment used to release, control, or use of nuclear energy to assist scientists in the laboratory or production activities. 

Unhealthiness score: 55.2

12. Medical equipment preparers

These workers prepare, sterilize, install, or clean laboratory or healthcare equipment, and are exposed to pollutants and diseases.

Unhealthiness score: 55.7


Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers

Airline pilots navigate and fly the plane or a multi-engine aircraft transporting passengers and cargo. The time they spend sitting in one place and exposure to contaminants put them at a higher health risk than other professions.

Unhealthiness score: 55.7

11. Derrick operators

In the oil and gas field, these workers rig derrick equipment and operate pumps to circulate mud through a drill hole. They face occupational hazards such as risk of falling from heights, suffer electric shock, harsh weather or strong sunlight. 

Unhealthiness score: 56.0


10. Surgical and medical assistants, technologists, and technicians

Surgical and medical assistants and other people in this field operate on a human body, under the supervision of surgeons and also perform medical laboratory tests. Their work exposes them to the risk of catching infection and diseases from patients.

Unhealthiness score: 57.3

9. Stationary engineers and boiler operators

Strict safety procedures are required as these workers work with potentially hazardous machinery like stationary engines, boilers, or other mechanical equipment useful for buildings or industrial processes. 

Unhealthiness score: 57.7


8. Water and waste water treatment plant and system operators

These workers treat water or waste water by operating the machines included in the process. They are exposed to biological hazards and chemical agents present in effluents and reagents used in water processing.

Unhealthiness score: 58.2

7. Histotechnologists and histologic technicians

They mainly prepare tissue samples for analysis while working with humans, animals or plants as specimen. The histologic slides are then used by pathologists.   

Unhealthiness score: 59.0


6. Immigration and customs inspectors

Who would have thought that the job of immigration and customs inspectors also puts them at the risk of acquiring several diseases and infections as they investigate and inspect people, common carriers, goods and merchandise?

Unhealthiness score: 59.3

5. Podiatrists

Podiatrists are the doctors who diagnose and treat diseases and deformities of the human foot. 

Unhealthiness score: 60.2


4. Veterinarians, veterinary assistants, and technicians

Their job includes diagnosing and treating injured and ill animals. They also perform research and medical tests in the laboratory. The contaminants and diseases pose significant health risk to these professionals.

Unhealthiness score: 60.3

3. Anesthesiologists, nurse anesthetists, and anesthesiologist assistants

They administer anesthetics or sedatives during medical procedures, and help patients in recovering from anesthesia. 

Unhealthiness score: 62.3


2. Flight attendants

The job of flight attendants is to ensure the safety, security, and comfort of airline passengers during the flight. They travel across different times zones for long hours and are exposed to radiation from space. 

Unhealthiness score: 62.3

1. Dentists, dental surgeons, and dental assistants

The profession of dentists and dental surgeons is the most risky professions in terms of health hazards. This is because they’re prone to catching infections while examining and treating malformations of teeth and gums. 

Unhealthiness score: 65.4


What’s your profession?

H/T: independent.co.uk