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Job related stress has become a dangerous safety factor in many workplaces. When a worker experiences stress at work, they are more likely to be injured in a workplace accident. Certain occupations, including construction workers, outdoor workers, and employees who work with chemicals and contaminants are associated with higher work-related stress levels.
In a recent NPR News study, 43 percent of working adults indicated that their job has resulted in negative effects on their stress levels, as well as weight, eating, and sleeping habits.
Being overworked is a common cause of job related stress. Working longer shifts, overtime hours, and not taking earned vacation or sick time are signs of being overworked. Almost 30 percent of workers admit to working when sick, because they do not believe there is enough staff to cover their absence.
Workers who develop job-related stress may develop unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as drinking or taking medications, that could negatively impact a worker’s health or reaction times.
Many safety problems result from human error directly related to stress. Stressed workers may have poorer attention spans, increased fatigue, difficulty in following instructions, and distracted thinking. All of these are risk factors for workplace accidents.
All types of employees are at increased risks for being involved in a serious accident when experiencing stress at the workplace. Stressed factory workers drop heavy objects, slip, cut themselves on machine parts, and forget to use machinery safety features.
Stressed office workers may injure themselves by improperly lifting objects, tripping and falling over objects, and rushing from one place to another.
Stressed workers who travel may be involved in serious driving accidents caused by running red lights, rear ending other vehicles, and general distracted driving.
Employees who are experiencing job related stress may exhibit warning signs. These include irritability, low morale, fatigue, appetite changes, frequent headaches, workplace fighting, and concentration difficulties.
Workers should monitor their stress levels to avoid becoming inattentive to their surroundings. Failing to address stress can cause significant health problems such as cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal conditions, compromised immune systems, and psychological disorders.
Although some employers offer health or wellness programs to address workplace stress, 40 percent of survey respondents rated the quality of such programs as only “fair” or “poor.”
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) encourages employers to analyze their workplaces for common sources of stress, including:
An experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyer can help determine if a worker’s stress-related injuries are covered by Workers’ Compensation insurance. Certain traumatic events, like witnessing a fatal accident or murder, becoming a robbery victim, or being assaulted by a customer or co-worker, may lead to debilitating stress, resulting in an inability to work. Workers taking time off to address stress-related issues miss an average of 20 days of work before returning to their employment.
If you have been injured at work, compensation may be available for the costs of medical treatment and loss of income. To discuss your litigation options today, contact an experienced Milford Workers’ Compensation lawyer at Rhoades & Morrow at 302-427-9500 or submit an online inquiry form. Our offices are located in Milford, Bear, and Wilmington to serve residents throughout Delaware.