Taking a job in manufacturing can be a great move, especially for someone who doesn’t have a college degree but still wants a decent standard of living. Factory work is often physically demanding, but the wages people earn are higher because of the labor required by such work.
Those who work in manufacturing may also receive better benefits, ranging from more comprehensive health insurance to more days of paid time off. A busy manufacturing setting may give you additional opportunities to increase your income, such as accepting overtime on the weekends or volunteering to come in on holidays.
Unfortunately, manufacturing jobs can also put you at high risk of injuries that can permanently end your ability to profit from your labor.
Factories are full of risk for traumatic injuries
Whether you paint finished products, weld components together, operate a forklift or feed materials into a press, the machinery you encounter on the job could cause severe injury. Mistakes that you or other workers make on the job, as well as malfunctions or maintenance issues, could lead to a serious traumatic injury.
Everything from conveyor belts to transportation equipment can cause traumatic injuries like brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, amputations and penetrating traumas. Crushing injuries can also occur if a worker has to reach or climb inside a piece of equipment to extract something or perform repairs.
Even if you never get hurt, you could still develop a medical condition
Long-term work in a factory could result in you developing a medical condition that limits your future ability to work. Factories can have loud noises, and hearing damage might make it unsafe for you to continue the same career path. You might also develop respiratory issues because of chemical exposure on the job. Even more common is the risk for repetitive stress injuries caused by doing the same work tasks over and over, day after day.
Medical conditions that someone acquires because of their work may slowly worsen over time and create a long-term limitation on what job functions that person can perform. Workers’ compensation benefits can cover medical costs and also help workers pay their bills when they need time off of work to recover.