Employees stressed at work? Here’s why it’s a health and safety problem

Ashley Churchyard, Fsp Business, 27 May. 2014

Tags: stressed at work, workplace accidents, injured at work, cope with stress, workplace injuries

You know you have to protect your employees from falls, slips cuts and other physical accidents. But what you might not know is you need to protect them from emotional and mental harm as well.

Emotional and mental stress can become a huge health and safety issue if you don’t deal with it.

This unseen damage to your employees has a long list of knock-on effects. These aren’t only harmful on their own, but can also cause health and safety risks for your company.

Read on to find out about the invisible health and safety risks hiding inside your employee’s mind.

Your Health and Safety role is not exactly an easy one!
Right now, the headaches, stresses, time-drainers and financial costs of Health and Safety in your company seem endless. You’re having to constantly stay on top of changes and updates being made to laws and regulations – and implementing these changes.
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Stressed at work: The hidden workplace illness

A recent European poll showed stress at work is one of the most common health and safety problems in Europe. 
Here in South Africa, it’s costing business up to R3 billion a year. Workplace stress, which can lead to depression and anxiety, is a work-related illness you have a duty to protect your employees from.
This isn’t just for their wellbeing. It’s for the wellbeing of all of your employees. 
The reason for this is stress and stress-related illnesses can lead to other workplace injuries such as…
Take this quick quiz to find out if you can handle the DoL hot seat
Which risk assessments have to be checked by an approved inspector every two years?
Is it absolutely necessary for your company to appoint and train someone as a risk assessor?
When was the last time you did a risk assessment? (Is that too long?)
Have you checked and double checked the less obvious health hazards?
If you can’t answer even one of these questions you’re not only putting your employee’s lives at risk; you’re also putting yourself in danger of massive fine from the DoL.
Don’t wait until it’s too late.
Learn how to do your risk assessments correctly here.

The health and safety risks caused by stress at work

The Health and Safety Advisor says if your employees are feeling stressed at work, they may start to suffer from insomnia and fatigue. Depression commonly causes these symptoms.
And when your employees are sleep-deprived and exhausted, they’re more likely to cause serious workplace accidents.
Picture this scenario: Your employee Mike is depressed because of the stressful work environment on your construction site. He hasn’t slept more than 20 hours this whole week.
Because of this, he isn’t concentrating and he doesn’t correctly secure the scaffolding he’s building.
Later, that scaffolding collapses with other employees on it.
Your employees will be serious injured at work all because you didn’t address the problem of stress at work and stress-related illnesses. 
For advice on how you can help your employee cope with stress, consult your copy of the Health and Safety Advisor‘s chapter on Stress at Work.
This will help you ensure your employees are emotionally, mentally and physically safe. 




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