According to the 2014 MySafetySign Health & Safety Industry Survey, psychosocial issues are top safety concerns for workers. The survey polled 470 employees responsible for their companies’ health and safety practices, and found 24% believe stress is the safety hazard that goes unnoticed the most.
Stress may be a significant occupational hazard for many U.S. workers. The American Psychological Association (APA) suggests job stress may contribute to the onset of mental health issues like depression, decrease workers’ productivity and performance and result in workers taking more sick days or finding other work.
The survey found while physical dangers in the workplace often are well covered by employers in workers’ safety training, stress and other types of emotional hazards, such as overwork and bullying, often go unnoticed in the workplace.
“Stress is an emotional strain which can exist short term and long term,” said Nellie Brown, director of Cornell University’s Workplace Health and Safety Program. “Demands on specific quality goals, production output, and incentive programs can often lead to under-reporting of stress. Workers should address the emotional strain earlier rather than later. Waiting can often be more detrimental and lead to more severe problems for both the employee and the company.”