Workplace Stress

Stress… what comes to mind when you read that word?  It may be just enough to set your nerves on edge!  Everyone feels stressed from time to time.  Some people deal with stress more effectively or recover from stressful events quicker than others.  It is important to understand your limits when it comes to stress.  If not, it could cause some serious health issues.

Stress can also have a big impact on your work environment.  Job stress can be defined as the harmful physical and emotional responses that happen when the requirements of the job do not match your capabilities, resources, or needs.  Stress on the job can lead to poor health and even injury.

This image below looks at what workers are saying about stress on the job:

Job Stress Effects on Workers

Stress sets off an alarm in the brain, which responds by preparing the body for defensive action. The nervous system is aroused and hormones are released to sharpen the senses, quicken the pulse, deepen respiration, and tense the muscles.

This response (sometimes called the fight or flight response) is important because it helps us defend against threatening situations. The response is preprogrammed biologically. Everyone responds in much the same way, regardless of whether the stressful situation is at work or home.

Short-lived or infrequent episodes of stress pose little risk. But when stressful situations go unresolved, the body is kept in a constant state of activation, which increases the rate of wear and tear to biological systems. Ultimately, fatigue or damage results, and the ability of the body to repair and defend itself can become seriously compromised. As a result, the risk of injury or disease escalates.

Preventing Job Stress

All employee reports of work-related stress and psychological injuries as a result of work-related stress need to be investigated in a timely manner. The investigation should identify all the factors that contributed to development of the injury or work–related stress occurring.

An investigation will assist in preventing future exposure of employees to psychological risk factors and improve the organization’s approach to preventing psychological injuries in the future. Investigations should not be about finding someone to blame, rather looking for ways to prevent or minimize employees being exposed to psychological risk factors in the future.

It is important to have a program to help prevent job stress at your workplace.  For more information, please view OSHAcademy’s free online course 765 Managing Workplace Stress.