When you think about safety on a job site, does your mind immediately go to OSHA standards and regulations? What you probably didn’t think about was stress.
Paul J. Rosch, M.D., is president of the American Institute of Stress, a Yonkers, NY-based nonprofit organization, and contends that working conditions play a primary role in causing job stress… especially in the construction industry.
A National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) report revealed that 40% of workers described their jobs as very or extremely stressful, and 25% of respondents named their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives. Meanwhile, the seventh Attitudes in the American Workplace study reported 80% of workers claimed they felt stressed on the job with half saying they needed help in learning how to cope with stress.
Not surprisingly, stress is one of the contributors to suicide, and the construction industry has the third highest rate of suicide of all industries in the United States according to NIOSH. Stress also plays a large role in chronic physical pain as well as injuries.
A 2012 study reported that 40% of people working in construction who were over the age of 50 had chronic back pain. Pain and injury are contributors to depression, and when people live with chronic pain they are more likely to feel stressed, and get injured. So with all the negative aspects associated with stress, including jobsite injuries, what can employers, and employees themselves do to reduce on the job stress?
According NIOSH, here are six ways that employees can manage stress.
- Develop a strong social support system in the workplace or job site. A co-worker who is available to talk through work related problems can help put things in perspective and minimize stress.
- Take strategic breaks to avoid “burnout”. Even something as small as taking a moment to clear your head, and distancing yourself from stressors, can enable you to return to the job with a fresh outlook.
- Set realistic expectations for the amount of work you can complete in the time you have available. Do not attempt to take on more than you can reasonably handle.
- Try to maintain a system and keep your work area/job site organized.
- Avoid negativity and negative people and try to maintain a positive attitude about your work, co-workers and company.
What are ways that you actively work to reduce stress on your job sites?