The statistics from every industry all agree – stress is a leading cause of accidents in the workplace. And stress is a cause in home accidents as well! When you’re feeling stress, you don’t think clearly and you are more prone to error.
The brain can only process so much at a time, and this stress load is over-riding everything else. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that:
- 25% of workers view their jobs as the greatest source of stress
- 26% have already experienced job burnout
- 40% of workers label their job duties as very stressful
- 75% of workers think that job stress is much worse than it was for workers in the previous generation
Do you agree with how the workers in this study view job stress? If you do, you’re not alone in feeling stress at work. When you feel stressed, you can protect yourself and others by:
Slowing down and double checking every step of the process
Read and re-read any safety directions, even if you already think you know it. Under stress, your brain is distracted.
- Ask for help if you feel the task is too much for you.
- Ask a colleague to double check the process.
- Don’t agree to learn a new task or operate new equipment when you feel stressed. You won’t retain the information well.
- Take breaks away from the task and relax. Your mind needs to step down from alert status and rest before resuming the task.
Workplace stress isn’t something you tough out to prove what you can handle. Working under stress places you and your co-workers at risk for industrial accidents. Even if you don’t drive a forklift, you can cause just as much damage by not thinking it out as you reach for a heavy box and drop it on someone’s head, because it was heavier than you thought.
So when you are in a tight spot, think twice. Because prevention is better than cure.