Back in May, the World Health Organization (WHO) made waves when it reported that worker burnout was a dangerous phenomenon impacting nearly every field of employment. WHO states that burnout is the consequence of extreme stress in the workplace caused by the work environment, hours or duties.
Although employees cannot collect workers’ compensation for solely experiencing stress or burnout, regardless of the WHO designation, it is still critical to take a look at how harmful-and dangerous-stress can be for employees.
Too much stress can lead to workplace accidents
In 2016, researchers reported to Safety and Health Magazine that there is often a direct correlation between workers’ stress and workplace accidents. The primary reason for this seems to be the distractions that stress can cause. Common signs of stress include:
- Extreme anxiety;
- Fatigue; and
- Trouble concentrating.
All of these signs, in addition to the stress itself, can easily distract workers and make the workplace more dangerous for themselves and their colleagues. Stress can cause workers to become less careful and forget safety standards and precautions in their workplace.
Stress often falls into the same category as overexertion. In fact, stress can often lead to workers overexerting themselves. Both stress and overexertion are termed to be “invisible threats” that workers face. These threats might not always be apparent, but there is no doubt that they pose a significant risk to many employees.
What are some of the most stressful jobs?
The U.S. News & World Report identified some of the most stressful jobs of 2019. These jobs include:
- Police officers and first responders
- Surgeons and medical professionals
- Restaurant workers, including servers and chefs
- Construction managers and workers
All workers must be aware of the increased risks that stress can create, but employees in inherently stressful jobs must take extra precautions. While workers can collect workers’ compensation for accidental injuries in the workplace (Maryland Code, Labor & Employment § 9-501), understanding the signs of stress and the risks stress creates in the workplace can help prevent accidents in the first place.