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UpdatesNov 07, 2012

10 common stress hazards to look out for in your workplace

Health and safety legislation requires you to take practical steps to ensure that your systems of work and working environment are safe and without risks to the health and safety of your workers. This includes the risks posed by stress.

By Joanna Weekes

Health and safety legislation requires you to take practical steps to ensure that your systems of work and working environment are safe and without risks to the health and safety of your workers. This includes the risks posed by stress.

When you have identified a stress hazard, your obligation is to determine the level of risk that such a hazard poses by undertaking a risk assessment and implementing appropriate control measures to reduce the risk.

Stress can be caused by a number of things and affects people differently depending on certain factors.

But how can you identify stress hazards? What should you be looking out for?10 common stress hazards to look out for in your workplace

Keep a look out for the following factors that may create stress hazards for your workers:

  1. Work task design – e.g. meaningless work, lack of variety.
  2. Volume or speed of work – e.g. too much or too little work, excessive time pressures.
  3. Role conflict or uncertainty – e.g. lack of guidance and instruction from management.
  4. Being put in tense or difficult situations – e.g. dealing with difficult customers, put on the spot in a meeting.
  5. Hours of work – e.g. shift work, unpredictable or long working hours.
  6. Job uncertainty – e.g. casuals or contractors who can be engaged ‘at will’.
  7. Working environment factors – e.g. poor work equipment, lacking space, being subjected to excessive noise.
  8. Lack of control over work – e.g. how and/or when work is performed.
  9. Management of work – e.g. poor management, poor communication, poor leadership, inadequate information, instruction and training.
  10. Workplace relationships with workers, supervisors or managers – e.g. bullying, interpersonal conflict, lack of social support.

Observe and monitor your workplace carefully to ensure that the above factors are not putting your workers in harm’s way.

On Friday I will have some tips for you about how to teach your workers to identify their own stress and use techniques to reduce it.

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