Health and safety are basic human rights that can be diminished by adverse conditions in the environment, at home and in the workplace. Perhaps the biggest factor affecting health and safety, which can exist in all of these environments, is stress, which is a contributor to heart disease, cancer and other life threatening illnesses. Factors that affect health and safety include pollution, unsafe working conditions and even the people that you surround yourself with.
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Depending on the quality of the environment, you can be exposed to a number of things that affect your health and safety. The quality of the air you breathe, the water you drink and the food you eat are all factors. Big business contaminates water needed for drinking and bathing through the dumping of toxic chemicals. Food becomes contaminated with bacteria through improper handling, and the outbreak of disease includes some of the biological factors. One sixth of childhood mortality is caused by disease associated with environmental factors. While most people can make choices about what kind of environment they choose to live in, it is also the responsibility of public authorities to protect people from environmental threats of business and industry.
If you own your home, it is your responsibility as the homeowner to make sure that your home is a safe and healthy environment. However, renters to some degree are at the mercy of their landlords, although the law does set health and safety standards. In the home, fire, carbon monoxide and exposure to lead paint, dust, mould and other allergens are some of the biggest factors that can affect health and safety. Proper ventilation is also a major factor, especially if you or anyone else in the home is a smoker. The home also should be free of bugs or rodents, and should have clear emergency exits. Another factor affecting health in the home is cleanliness -- a dirty kitchen or bathroom can expose you to harmful germs and bacteria.
In the Workplace
Depending on your job, there could be many different factors that affect your health and safety at work. Factors include proper safety precautions for those working with electricity, nuclear energy, chemicals, or construction sites. The most common factor affecting health and safety in the workplace, however, is stress, while exhaustion from being overworked is also a major factor. Other factors include ventilation in the workspace, cleanliness, lighting, maintenance, escape routes and support for proper ergonomics.
When someone is involved in an abusive relationship, it can take a toll on their physical and mental well-being. Therefore, the people we surround ourselves with can have a major impact on our health and safety. You should surround yourself with people with whom you are free from harm or the threat of harm. Stress, depression and mental and physical exhaustion are all consequences of being with someone who is mentally, physically or sexually abusive. People need to live in environments free from abuse to be safe and healthy.
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- MESICS; Stress Facts & Stats, Stress Statistics, Stress is Killing People, Stress Kills; September 2008
- University of California, Riverside; Environmental Health and Safety; September 2010
- Health-EU; Environmental Health; 2011
- New York State Department of Health; Home Safe Home; March 2009
- Health Knowledge; Appreciation of factors affecting health and safety at work; Dr Paul Wilkinson; 2009