Worker Safety and Stress: How Are You Communicating?

When you think about worker safety, what comes to mind? Hard hats, safety glasses, HazMat, slips trips and falls, forklift safety, etc. These are all critical components to ensuring that workers are safe. But what about stress and the impact it has on safety?

In the June issue of NSC’s Health & Safety, Tom Musick shines a light on the huge role that stress can play on safety. Whether it’s stress caused by conditions at work, or stress brought into work from issues at home, the effect is the same. It can impact concentration, cause fatigue, morale issues, anger, anxiety or irritability. It can also lead to drug or alcohol abuse, which in turn can trigger workplace incidents or violence. What are you doing to raise awareness of stress and help workers cope?

Many safety professionals use workplace digital signage to visually communicate and reinforce critical safety messages. Stress is a far less tangible subject than PPE or machine guarding. Yet digital signage can be a very effective platform for engaging workers and educating them on stress, as well as other hard to communicate subjects.

7 Tips for Raising Awareness of Stress Using Digital Signage

1. Educate workers on recognizing the signs of stress. Think of it as an ad campaign. Using PowerPoint, create a series of strong images and simple messages. Get creative with your choice of images. Your immediate goal is to grab workers’ attention so that they get the message. Don’t be afraid to use humor.
2. Promote your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) by identifying the types of services offered and letting employees know how to get help. 
3. Post helpful websites. Not everyone is comfortable using EAP. Maybe they want to look for answers on their own. Whether it’s gambling, alcoholism or teenage drug abuse, there are a host of online resources available for more information.
4. Invite speakers for lunch-and learns and “advertise” the event on your digital signage screens. 
5. Launch a stress-busters campaign as part of your health and wellness program.
6. Make it personal by asking employees to share their stories of how they reduce stress. Post their picture with a quote, or capture a quick video clip.
7. Commit to posting messages on stress regularly. When mapping out the schedule for coverage of other safety topics, be sure that stress is on the calendar.

These techniques will help to raise awareness of stress and its effects.  They also send the message that you care about your employees, as people, not just as workers.

 

Jude Carter
July 19, 2016

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