Keeping employee stress levels low is a good business practice for employers. According to a new study conducted by researchers at Portland State University, an employer’s failure to provide proper support and resources to their employees, especially older workers, leads to higher employee stress levels. High stress levels are associated with an increased risk of workplace injury. When workplace stress contributes to an accident, injured workers often can receive Workers’ Compensation to pay for their medical expenses and lost wages.
Importance of Supportive Work Environments
Research shows workplaces lacking vital support and resources can lead to higher stress levels for employees. One study indicated over 40 percent of workers frequently experience high stress levels at their jobs.
To create a workplace where all workers can thrive, employers are encouraged to provide workers with:
- Flexibility in task completion according to an individual’s worker’s strengths and expertise
- Job autonomy
- Supportive superiors
- Relationship building opportunities
- Procedural fairness
- Transparency in decision-making
- Realistic deadlines
- Sustainable work schedules
- Clear expectations
Failing to provide workers with these types of supports can affect the physical and mental health of employees to the detriment of the entire company. Some of the warning signs an employee may be experiencing higher levels of workplace stress include: fatigue; changes in mood or behavior; aggressive behavior; concentration problems; appetite changes; use of alcohol or drugs; irritability; anxiety; depression; and physical symptoms such as headaches.
High Stress Levels Led to More Work Injuries
When workers are experiencing greater levels of stress, they are at a higher risk for being injured in a workplace accident. Human error is large factor in many job-related accidents. When employees are having sleeping, eating, or focus problems due to high stress levels, they are not at their physical best. Fatigue and inattention are common contributing factors in workplace accidents.
Safety concerns for stressed workers appear in every occupational field. The American Nurses Association has cautioned on-the-job stress impacts more than 80 percent of nurses who may feel rushed and pressured to take shortcuts, thus putting patient safety at risk. These negative impacts of work-related stress increase the likelihood an accident will occur and injuries will be sustained.
Many common stress coping mechanisms also place workers at greater risk for injury should a workplace accident take place. Certain medications or the use of alcohol will slow down the reaction times of workers. Other side effects of many medications prescribed to help with stress include decreased appetite, an inability to focus, and fatigue. Workers who turn to smoking to cope with workplace stress increase their risk for heart disease and other medical complications.
Workplace accidents can result in serious and permanent injuries requiring an employee to incur the costs of medical treatment, rehabilitation services, prescription drugs and lost wages. Ongoing workplace stress can lead to the development of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease which can become a lifelong medical condition. Temporary and permanent disabilities resulting from workplace injuries can financially devastate workers and their families for years to come. Individuals injured at work may be entitled to receive Workers’ Compensation to help defray some of these costs.
Columbia Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. Assist Families of Injured Workers
At Chappell Smith & Arden, P.A. our experienced Columbia Workers’ Compensation lawyers assist injured workers and their families throughout South Carolina in obtaining compensation for their injuries. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced Columbia work injury lawyer today, call us at 803-929-3600 or 866-881-8623 or submit an online inquiry form.
From our six office locations we proudly serve clients across the state, including those in Columbia, Aiken, Camden, Sumter, Orangeburg, Greenville, Florence, Beaufort, Irmo, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head Island, West Columbia, Rock Hill, Charleston, Lexington, Winnsboro, Summerville, and throughout the areas of Lexington County, Richland County, Sumter County, Charleston County, Aiken County, Florence County, Lancaster County, York County, Spartanburg County, Orangeburg County, Kershaw County, and Newberry County.