Are Invisible Factors Putting You at Risk of Work Injuries?

Posted on May 22, 2020

Today’s workers face invisible risk factors for workplace injuries such as stress, long work hours, overtime, lack of sleep, and chronic fatigue.

Workers Face Invisible Injury Risks

Although workplace injuries from falls, defective or faulty equipment, and toxic or flammable chemicals are all too common, there’s a new injury risk that’s contributing to worker illnesses and injuries. It’s an invisible risk caused by too much stress, too much work, and not enough rest. Unfortunately, most workers don’t see it coming until it’s too late.

According to recent health and safety reports, about 36 percent of employees work too much, up to 48 hours every week. To get daily tasks accomplished, many employees put in overtime without overtime pay or take work home just to get caught up. Health and safety reports show a close correlation between employees who work long hours and workplace illness. This is because excessive work hours are associated with high levels of chronic stress and fatigue, two known factors in serious medical conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal illnesses, sleep disorders, and mental conditions including anxiety and depression.

Many jobs can be stressful, but certain workers have higher risks of invisible threats:

  • Doctors, nurses, and medical workers
  • Caregivers who provide round-the-clock care
  • Domestic workers in hotels and motels
  • Night-shift workers
  • Workers with multiple jobs
  • Office managers and supervisors

According to the International Labor Organization, more than 7,500 workers around the globe lose their lives every day, but only about 14 percent die from workplace accidents or trauma. Most of these workers die from long-term physical or mental illnesses caused by work-related activities that create serious health conditions.

In today’s workplace, jobs are harder to get, markets are competitive, and workers are expected to work at a fast pace. In most offices, a high degree of stress is as routine as going to the office coffee machine. Studies on work-related injuries cite stress as the second-most common workplace health problem, responsible for as many as half of all reported workplace absences. Workers’ compensation attorneys commonly see injury cases related to high-stress levels.

Workplace stress and fatigue are silent, invisible threats for worker injuries, overall health, and productivity. These invisible factors not only impact workers, but also have a significant impact on a company’s success. To reduce workers’ compensation claims and prevent illness and injuries, employers must take a closer look at invisible injury risks in the workplace.