Do you know the true cost of injuries in your workplace? Do you know how much influence the happiness of workers can have on injuries?
A recent study (Psychosocial safety climate, emotional exhaustion, and work injuries in healthcare workplaces) says preventing work injuries requires a clear understanding of how they occur, how they are recorded, and the accuracy of injury surveillance.
Workers feeling down and with high levels of emotional exhaustion (experiencing stress, burnout, anxiety, depression), tend to have more injuries and are less likely to report those work-related injuries.
If you do not record or keep track of psychologically-related injuries, then it is very hard to reduce or manage injuries coming from this area. High emotional exhaustion will manifest in reduced productivity, higher absenteeism, presentism (at work physically but not there emotionally or mentally), all of which lead to higher injuries sooner or later.
The study found that 73% of workers reported a physical injury but only 35% reported a psychological injury such as an encounter with a violent client or depression from job stress.
Having an awareness of your workplace’s psychosocial risk and creating a good safety culture will increase organisational productivity and reduce the likelihood of injuries occurring from emotional exhaustion.
So – what are some of the things that a workplace can check, without spending mega dollars to reduce injuries coming from emotional exhaustion?
- How many employees have at least 6 weeks annual leave owing? (an indicator they haven’t had a holiday for over a year)
- How many employees don’t have annual leave or sick leave? (an indicator they are sick or things are not going well at home)
- Can all tasks be done within designated work hours? (overworked or stressed worker)
- No one eats their lunch at their workstation? (no time for a break)
- Everyone takes their breaks?
- WorkCover costs are going up?
- Employee turnover (an indicator of high stress or poor workplace culture)
- Socialising (celebrating birthdays, etc. is an indicator of morale and cohesion)
- Theft or equipment breakage (an indicator of morale or attitude)
- How many employees are casual or on short term contracts? (casual/short term contract employees can feel they do not have value and are not considered important)
- Employee Assistance Program (demonstrates a plan to help employees who are struggling)
Bottom-line: by lowering emotional exhaustion, workers will be happier – and fewer injuries and time off work will result.
Adapted from an article Workplace injury data: the tip of the iceberg? by Craig Donaldson OHS PROFESSIONAL June 2017 pp 8-9.
Psychosocial safety climate, emotional exhaustion, and work injuries in healthcare workplaces. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28127855