More stress, long hours on the job may contribute to rising injury risks
"Many companies are being forced to make massive layoffs, leaving those who are left to perform more tasks and different jobs than they may have been doing six months ago," said Cindy Roth, CEO of Ergonomic Technologies Corp. in Syosset, N.Y. "Their bodies may not be able to function in that capacity for more than eight hours a day."
In addition to performing unfamiliar tasks, employees are facing increased stress from worrying about the security of their jobs. Employees are more likely to put in longer hours during these times, increasing fatigue and injury risks. In addition, some employees may be afraid to report discomfort and choose to "work through the pain," which can result in more costly and significant injuries in the long run.
Roth said it is important to develop a rotation system that allows for proper rest and recovery, as well as shared muscle usage.
"Now is not the time for a lost work time injury," she said.
In addition, it is important to help employees reduce the increased levels of stress that they may be feeling as a result of impending downsizing measures or layoffs of their coworkers. Employers can help workers feel less stressed by:
- Consulting employees about scheduling and work rules.
- Making sure the workload is suitable to employees' abilities and resources.
- Showing that individual workers are valued.
March 30, 2009
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