"Stop talking to me!"

Ever feel like just yelling that at the top of your lungs? That was last week at our office. The pace was non-stop, the challenges were coming at us right and left, some critical elements to success were suddenly out of our control and that was just on Monday! Needless to say stress levels were off the chart.  Fortunately, we have an environment where it is safe to vent, laugh and then get on with it. Why? Because stress can make you sick, emotionally and physically.

There are a number of definitions for stress, especially workplace stress. This one however draws to mind an interesting visual as well. Stress is “The confusion created when one’s mind overrides the body’s basic desire to choke the living daylights out of someone who desperately needs it!”

Studies show that job stress is by far the leading source of stress for adults and it continues to escalate. Stress is a leading contributor to accidents and injuries and in the workplace it can jeopardize the safety of your employees. Stress changes how we act, how we think and how we react; it makes us more open to accidents and injuries. Our focus is less clear, we have difficulty understanding and processing.  We are less creative, more defensive, and angrier and tend to over react to our surroundings. We are more likely to break things, are clumsier, make more errors and are more likely to cut corners. Physically it manifests itself in headaches, back pain, sleep disorders and
stomach issues to name a few. In many ways, we become an accident waiting to happen.

In the workplace unrecognized and untreated stress among employees is a recipe for disaster. Stress not only contributes to industry’s high price tag of $300 billion annually as a result of accidents, absenteeism and employee turnover; it contributes to fifty percent of all illness in the United States.

So here’s the $64,000 question; does your “Safety Plan” include stress management for your employees? It should. Ignoring the signs in your employees and hoping someone else will handle it will cost you in more ways than one.

Ready to let out that primal scream? I say go for it.

Posted by MJ Thomas

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