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What are the signs of burnout?

We have discussed the risks of overexertion and burnout in the workplace in past blog posts. However, it is an important topic to address, especially in these uncertain times.

Many workers face a higher risk of stress and burnout nowadays, and this can significantly increase the chances of a workplace accident or injury.

So, what are the signs of burnout that workers should watch out for?

The common symptoms of burnout include:

  1. Exhaustion and fatigue: Workers often experience burnout when they feel stretched too thin at work. Low staffing and high demands for speed can be common causes behind this. That stress can prevent workers from getting enough sleep. In turn, this can significantly affect a worker's ability to focus on their work, as well as their awareness of their surroundings.
  2. Anxiety: Burnout and stress are often accompanied by anxiety. Workers might worry about their performance at work, and whether they are doing enough. This worry might lead workers to dedicate more energy to their work, which often only increases the risk of burnout.
  3. Headaches: Burnout can have many physical symptoms as well. These symptoms vary depending on the person, but it is common for burned-out workers to experience headaches, stomach aches and chest pain. Excessive stress for long periods of time can even lead to high blood pressure or heart disease.

Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that burnout was an "occupational phenomenon." The WHO described "Burnout Syndrome" as a chronic exposure to occupational stress. However, such a diagnosis is often paired with other physical and psychological conditions as noted above. 

Burnout increases the chance of work accidents

Most importantly, there are several studies that report burnout can increase the chance of a workplace accident or injury. For example, EHS Today reports that burnout could lead workers to:

  • Use machinery improperly;
  • Get distracted or too tired behind the wheel; and
  • Fail to follow workplace safety policies.

This is only to name a few of these risks.

In these times, nurses, emergency responders and grocery store workers are only some of the many workers taking on extra shifts. Taking a break might not seem possible, but all workers must ensure they watch out for these signs and address their stress. Rest is essential, so workers can stay focused and safe at all times - especially on the job.

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Cohen, Snyder, Eisenberg & Katzenberg, P.A. - Maryland Personal Injury Lawyers

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