Scheduled maintenance - Thursday, July 12 at 5:00 PM EDT
We expect this update to take about an hour. Access to this website will be unavailable during this time.
You feel overloaded at work and they changed your shift schedule again without warning. You can't get work off of your mind and are having trouble sleeping. To top it off, your stomach is acting up and those nagging headaches are back.
When the demands and pressures of your job are too much for you to handle, and you don't have much control over the situation, you may experience work-related stress (stress caused or made worse by work). If left unchecked for a prolonged period of time, stress can make you sick.
Why it's important
Work-related stress is widespread. In the European Union, work-related stress is second only to back pain as the most common work-related health problem, affecting 28% of workers. According to a survey by the American Psychology Association released in early March 2013, one-third of American employees experience chronic stress at work.
Whether it originates from within or out, the pressure to work at optimum pace and performance can take a toll on, and negatively impact, both the organization and the employee. Studies show that stressful working conditions are associated with increased absenteeism, tardiness, high staff turnover, reduced productivity and product/service quality, and increased compensation costs - all of which have a negative effect on the bottom line. The impact of stress on workers may include tobacco, alcohol or drug abuse, violent/bullying behaviour, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, inability to concentrate, and irritability. Chronic stress can also cause health issues such as back problems, heart problems, stomach ulcers, and hypertension, and can weaken the immune system.
Everyone has different thresholds for and triggers of stress, however some workplace factors are more likely to lead to stress than others.
Examples of potential causes of work-related stress include:
Although some of these factors may occur in a workplace without leading to stress, the risk for stress increases when these factors occur in combination and/or for prolonged periods of time.
What employers can do
What employees can do
Often the source of the stress is something that you cannot change immediately. Therefore, it is important to find ways to help maintain good mental health and be proactive in dealing with stress. In the workplace, you may find some of the following tips to be helpful:
Respectful workplaces that encourage good communications and healthy work systems are more likely to have a healthy and productive workforce.
Office buildings, schools, and other non-industrial buildings may develop moisture and dampness problems from roof and window leaks, high indoor humidity, and flooding. Moisture or dampness can lead to the growth of mould, fungi, and bacteria; the release of volatile organic compounds; and the breakdown of building materials - all which can cause occupants to develop respiratory symptom and disease. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released an alert to warn of this hazard.
Research studies have shown that people who are exposed to building dampness and mould can develop respiratory symptoms, asthma, hypersensitivity pneumonitis (inflammation of the lungs), rhinosinusitis, bronchitis, and respiratory infections. People with asthma or hypersensitivity pneumonitis may be at risk for developing more severe disease if the exposure to the damp building is not recognized as the source of the illness, and they continue to be exposed.
The NIOSH alert advises building owners, employers, or occupants to use the following approaches to minimize ongoing building dampness.
What building owners and employers can do
Remembering lives lost or injured in the workplace
In 2011, 919 workers in Canada lost their lives to a disease or injury they incurred from work-related causes. Even more disturbing, is that eight of those who died were teenagers; twenty-six were between the ages of twenty and twenty-four years.
There are close to three work-related deaths each day in Canada - each one leaving a trail of pain for the families impacted by the loss of a husband, wife, father, mother, brother, sister, son or daughter. And most - if not all - are fatalities that could have been prevented.
To honour those workers across the country whose lives have been lost, who have been injured or disabled on the job, or suffer from occupational diseases, April 28th has been set aside as the National Day of Mourning. The Day of Mourning is an opportunity not only to remember, but also for employees and employers to publicly renew their commitment to preventing work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths and making workplaces safe and healthy for all.
This day of observance was established when the Workers Mourning Day Act was passed in December 1990. Since that time, various events are organized each year by labour organizations across the country to express remembrance for the family, friends, and colleagues who have suffered in carrying out workplace duties. The Canadian flag on Parliament Hill will fly at half-mast. Workers will light candles, don ribbons and black armbands, and observe moments of silence.
Over the years, the day of observance known in most other countries as the Workers' Memorial Day, has spread to over 75 countries and is now an international day of remembrance of workers killed in incidents at work, or by diseases caused by work. In addition, the International Labour Organization (ILO) celebrates the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on April 28th to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally.
Up close and personal
Statistics can be impersonal and cold. But the stories of real life people who have suffered the loss of a limb or a loved one from a work-related injury bring the statistics to life and put faces to the numbers. To this end, CCOHS has recorded podcasts with two victims of workplace tragedies who share their personal journeys.
Bill Bowman lost his arm as a young worker. Now, decades later he shares his story of loss and how he and his family were impacted by this life altering injury.
Listen to this nine-minute podcast: Workplace Injuries: A Personal Story.
Shirley Hickman's life changed forever when her son Tim was killed on the job just shy of his twenty-first birthday. Shirley shares her painful journey and what inspired her to create the Threads of Life organization, which supports workers and their families who are affected by life-altering workplace injuries, illnesses and deaths.
Listen to this nine-minute podcast: Shirley Hickman - A Mother's Story.
The CCOHS website has more information about the National Day of Mourning.
For further statistical information, visit AWCBC National Work Injuries Statistics Program.
Update your Facebook page with the free Day of Mourning cover images.
Find a Steps for Life walk in your community.
Health and Safety To Go
This month's Health and Safety To Go! podcasts offer tips on how to reduce risks of injury while using patient lifts, and feature an encore presentation on the health risks of sitting too long.
Feature Podcast: Don't Get Burdened by Patient Lifts
Caregivers and healthcare workers who must lift patients as part of their daily job can face challenges with this particular task. While mechanical lifts make it much easier to move and lift patients and can help reduce the ergonomic risks associated with manual patient handling, they also introduce other workplace hazards. Listen to this podcast for tips on how to reduce risk while using patient lifts.
The podcast runs 7:20 minutes. Listen to the podcast now.
Encore Podcast: Prolonged Sitting: The Risks of Sitting Too Long
CCOHS highlights the health issues surrounding prolonged sitting at work, and what workers can do to avoid the risks of sitting too long.
The podcast runs 3:55 minutes. Listen to the podcast now.
CCOHS produces free monthly podcasts on a wide variety of topics designed to keep you current with information, tips, and insights into the health, safety, and well-being of working Canadians. You can download the audio segment to your computer or MP3 player and listen to it at your own convenience... or on the go!
See the complete list of podcast topics. Better yet, subscribe to the series on iTunes and don't miss a single episode.
It's that time of year again when we check in with you to see how we're doing. We are continually making improvements to the Report based on feedback we receive from our readers. The Report is now emailed to more than 33,000 readers in more than 100 countries around the world every month.
We need your help
Please take a few minutes to take our Health and Safety Report Readership Survey and tell us what you think. You could win a Kobo Glo 6" 2GB Touchscreen eReader.
This is your chance to tell us what you want to see in the newsletter and what you need to help you, and others, work safely.
Enter the draw
Remember to provide your name/email if you wish to be entered into the draw. Your information will not be used for any other purpose; we promise. We will be making the draw April 30, 2013.
Thank you - with your help we can make the Report even better.
Take the Health and Safety Report Readership Survey.
Tell us what you think.
We welcome your feedback and story ideas.
Connect with us.
The Health and Safety Report, a free monthly newsletter produced by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), provides information, advice, and resources that help support a safe and healthy work environment and the total well being of workers.
© 2017, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
Length: 7:24 minutes
October 2-6, 2017
Saint John, NB
October 3, 2017
Saint John, NB
October 4-5, 2017
October 26-27, 2017
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
November 6-12, 2017
November 11, 2017