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Stressful workplace?

Avoid making workers sick

December 17, 2015   by CCOHS

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Photo: Thinkstock.

When the demands and pressures of a job are too much for some workers to handle, they may experience work-related stress. If left unchecked for a prolonged periods, stress can make them sick.

Studies show stressful working conditions are associated with increased absenteeism, tardiness, high staff turnover, reduced productivity and product/service quality, and increased compensation costs. How workers react to stress may include tobacco, alcohol or drug abuse; violent/bullying behaviour; sleep problems; anxiety; depression; inability to concentrate; and irritability. Chronic stress can also cause health issues such as back problems, heart problems, stomach ulcers, hypertension and a weakened immune system.

Everyone has different thresholds for stress and its triggers.

Do the following to reduce workplace stressors

  • Treat all employees in a fair and respectful manner.
  • Look for pressures at work that could cause high and prolonged levels of stress.
  • Look for pressures at work that could cause high and prolonged levels of stress.
  • Look for pressures at work that could cause high and prolonged levels of stress.
  • Match the workload to workers’ skills and abilities.
  • Design meaningful jobs that are stimulating and provide opportunities for employees to use their skills.
  • Allow employees to have as much control as possible over their tasks.
  • Clearly define roles and responsibilities.
  • Provide employees with the training, skills and resources they need to do their jobs.
  • Establish work schedules that are compatible with demands and responsibilities outside the job.
  • Involve employees in decision-making and seek their input on issues affecting their jobs.
  • Improve communications and reduce uncertainty about career development and future employment prospects.
  • Value and recognize individuals’ results and skills.
  • Provide opportunities for social interaction among employees.
  • Provide access to employee assistance programs.
  • Workplaces with healthy work systems are more likely to have productive workers who can effectively handle the demands of the workplace.

This article was provided by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS). The not-for-profit federal corporation that promotes the physical, psychosocial and mental health of Canadian workers.

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