24th Aug, 2020 Read time 2 minutes

How stress management factors into health and safety

Stress in the workplace can have far-reaching complications, and it can arise from a variety of different situations. Research suggests that employees tend to get stressed, not necessarily when they have a high workload, but when they feel like they can’t deal with the high workload. This then leads to missed deadlines and additional time constraints which can often compound the issue of stress in workers.

Stressed workers, as studies have shown can have more workplace-related incidents and long term absenteeism. Absenteeism can put a strain on working relationships and threaten to make stress-related issues worse over an extended period.

Because of a workers self-perception that they do not have the necessary skills to do the work, stress and anxiety often creep in. Some believe this could stem from an organisations’ lack of employee training. Others also speculate that this type of stress can manifest itself when an individual does not have the right experience to handle challenging situations.

 

How stress links with physical health and safety issues

The dangers of stress when managed incorrectly cannot be understated, not only will it impact on the mental wellbeing of an individual, it can also lead to accidents further down the line if left untreated.

Take, for instance, a forklift driver; who happens to be under a tremendous amount of stress at home for whatever reason. This stress, given the nature of their job, is going to have an impact on their ability to operate the forklift safely.

If a sleepless night causes the worker to feel exhausted, this could easily lead to a collision or other incident that may have been caused due to the worker’s impaired concentration and mental health.

Stress can not only have an impact on obvious safety issues. Long term problems can develop of employers do not put in place proper checks on the stress levels of employees. These can range from physcologial issues which can lead to increased absenteeism. Additionally stress has been linked to avariety of physical health conditions that could put your staff at a high risk if they are unable to cope with pressures that you may be putting upon them.

 

How health and safety professionals can help employees who may be suffering from stress

As shown, stress is a big issue that can impact on workers ability to not only do their job productively but also their ability to do their job safely. As a health and safety professional keeping employee’s safe often means tackling issues around employee stress and anxiety.

Our previous articles on wellbeing and some of our videos interviews with the likes of Tim Marsh and Duncan Spencer show you some practical steps that can be taken to help your employees and the levels of stress they are experiencing in their job.

HSE Network
Article by: HSE Network

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