Moving a Mile a Minute – Frenetically Speaking

Mile a Minute

Too much on the brain, just like a hard rain, beating against a window pane, roaring like a freight train, wonder how I remain sane, from this throbbing mental strain.  Work pace is pushing me, oh so frantically, things that I may not see, could suddenly injure me, better off pain free, best to slow it down for health and safety. 

This vignette in verse is an impression of the response many of us might have to our busy lifestyle and stressful work routine.  Going about our daily activities in a pell-mell fashion can certainly lead to poor job performance, stress-related distraction and possible injury.  The World Health Organization (WHO) states “Mental health problems and other stress-related disorders are recognized to be among the leading causes of early retirement from work, high absence rates, overall health impairment, and low organizational productivity.”

Work-related psychosocial risks concern the design and management of work to address issues of work-related injuries, stress, violence, harassment and bullying. “Psychosocial risk factors” sounds complex, but it’s mostly thinking about the best ways to create a positive sense of community at work that encourages listening and cooperation between everyone from leadership to the front line. When we slow down to consider an individual’s mental and physical health and safety, we can actually increase productivity.

In a white paper published by Wellnomics®, titled Psychosocial risk factors: what are they and why are they important, the the authors describe seven key psychosocial risk factors and supports much of what we’ve been talking about in our safety blog posts. They cite studies where ergonomic interventions have influenced psychosocial risk factor reduction by increasing supervisor awareness about musculoskeletal problems through training, proactive workstation evaluations, modifications, and early treatment. 

Those seven key psychosocial risk factors correspond well with the thirteen psychosocial factors identified by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety’s Guarding Minds At Work program which found that “sound scientific evidence shows that when businesses adopt policies and programs to address psychological health and safety, they incur between 15% to 33% fewer costs related to psychological health issues.”

The WHO webpage on occupational health also provides a number of free documents on psychosocial risk factors and hazards and MEMIC has posted several blogs which touch upon psychosocial factors as well as other aspects of employee health and safety.  For more information, check out these posts: Human Error; What Employees Really Want; Promoting Personal Care Can Increase Productivity and Profitability; Employee Safety and Wellness Run Hand-In-Hand; Small Events, Large Consequences; Affecting Employee Choices; Behavior Based Safety: What Is It and Why Could It Be Right for My Organization?; Safety Leadership: Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk.

By Greg LaRochelle