Factors Affecting Employee Safety
Author(s): Samin Kibria, Isaiah Addo-Bekoe, Fabiha Shaikh
When someone comes across the term ‘employee safety’, they might think of many things. They might think of the various equipment and materials in a workplace and the instructions given to them in order to handle them in a proper and safe manner. It might be procedures that are put in place to keep employees as well as customers in the event of an emergency. It also can even be as simple as reporting a spill or a leak to an employee’s manager or supervisor and complying with the instructions of the health and safety officers to prevent the recurring of such an incident. However, there are other aspects and factors that go into and affect employee safety that are not as obvious. Recent research has begun to look into the psychological and mental impact of various types of work conditions on employees. This is of special interest because this kind of impact is equally as important as addressing physiological strains on employees, yet is not as talked about. Also to be discussed is the profound effect of COVID-19 on the workplace and its impact on the mental and physical health of employees. As we all know, it has not only affected people physiologically but the various consequences of it also cause many to be put under pressure psychologically. It has become an extremely important topic regarding the safety of employees and its relevance to the workplace should not be underestimated especially as we gradually phase out of the pandemic. Additionally, we will also go over a few ways on how to improve employee safety in regards to mental and psychological strains as well as the impacts caused by COVID-19.
In the articles that were summarized and discussed we see a multitude of terms and words that were used that are very important to understanding the problem at hand of employee safety. One of the most prominent words was physiological. This word was used numerous times in the articles as companies try to promote the safety of employees' physical well-being by having safety manuals for things and safety protocols etc. But a part where most companies haven't tried their best to help us on the mental front, the psychological. Meaning psychological is things that affect the mind and relate to the emotional and mental state of people. And when companies don't give talks or address the topic of psychological problems or make sure that work wouldn't cause problems to their worker's psychological health employees to start to develop things like depression start to derive from their work environment. Connected to the psychological are things like stress, stress which is the mental or physical response to something happening to you affects a lot of employees related in the articles. For example, workers having bad supervisors or working in hazardous areas etc. And because of the stress the workers can have physical symptoms like headaches, sleep problems, difficulty breathing and the list goes on. Because of that and its prominence in workplaces concerning workers' health it was used quite often. But another word is a bi-product of burnout which is a state where a person has emotional and physical exhaustion that is caused by excessive stress over a long time. This term was mentioned a lot because it's a very common thing among workers when they are doing tasks that are challenging and tiring mentally and physically with no breaks or changes into something else and people don't even realize it, most times not even the employees themselves which makes it a very big problem.
Employee safety plays a very important role in any organization. The employees are critical for any business to successfully operate, therefore employees safety is a priority. Many factors can affect the safety of employees such as, covid-19, overload work, employee burnout, psychological distress and engagement of the employees. With these major factors affecting employee safety it is important for organizations to offer solutions to their employees and support them in times needed in order for the employees to feel safe and secure in their workplace. During the past few years covid-19 has become a major factor affecting employee safety. The spread of covid-19 and working with multiple people in an organization put many employees at physical and physical health risk. In order to protect the safety of the employees many organizations started placing mask mandates and social distancing, as well as making the employees work from home. All of these resolutions ensured the safety of the employees. Covid-19 left hard times for many workers, especially first responders. There were times of high stress situations as well as high chances of contracting the virus. Many first responders avoided meeting with family and friends for months. Due to this many healthcare providers were given therapy and were also the one of the first people to access the vaccine to accommodate with the stress and health risk. Another major factor affecting employee safety is the underload and overload of work. As one consists of constant work and one consists of focusing for long periods of time. Research shows that this type of work conditions puts employees at the risk of depression, anxiety and lack of motivation. To avoid these situations organizations provide employees with mental health days, coaching, paid sick days and moral support. Burnout employees are employees who have been burned out due to the amount of work they have performed. Burnout employees can show similar symptoms as it overlaps with depression and lack of motivation in one's life. To prevent these situations managers have placed quarterly check-ins with their employees as well as one on one help to assure that employees are physically and mentally healthy. A very important factor in employee safety at any workplace is how secure the employee feels at work. According to research many employees do not feel secure in their workplace and require more assistance. To support employees well being a solution of job resources and manager employee trust is very important. After placing these regulations research shows that more employees felt secure in their job and had better mental well being as well as job satisfaction. Therefore, proving that employee safety in any workplace is extremely significant.
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