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Work-related Stress

Work-related Stress

Work-related Stress is the reaction people have to excessive work-related pressures or other types of demand placed on them. While there may be some disagreement over an exact definition, most people believe that it is a serious problem in their organisations.

 

Work-related Stress Surveys

Various work-related stress surveys found that stress is a significant issue at work. Majority of surveyed employees claim they had taken time off work due to stress. Basically, stress is thought to pose a relatively high risk. However, it is often the least well controlled of all risks at work.

Pressures exist in all aspects of people’s lives. There is even some evidence that we need pressure to be able to function at maximum effectiveness. Be that as it may, the responses to pressure, physical and mental, can be damaging if required to continue beyond the short term. Psychological, and physical illness caused by work-related stress can result in anxiety, depression, heart diseases and other serious medical conditions.

 

Work-related Stress Contributing Factors

Factors which may contribute to stress in the workplace include:

There are a number of additional factors which can be a cause of work-related stress. Isolating one or more of these factors as a cause of a particular stress problem is difficult. This is because most of these factors are inter-related.

 

Dealing with Work-related Stress

Stress at work is believed to reduce the individual’s effectives, increase absenteeism and labour turnover. In addition, it may increase the likelihood of injury.

Each employer has an obligation to ensure that, as far as is reasonably practicable, the health of employees is not endangered in the course of their work.

The Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has a number of useful resources that can be used in managing work related stress. For instance, one of these resources is WorkpositiveCI. WorkpositiveCI has been developed by the Health and Safety Authority (HSA)State Claims Agency (SCA) and Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Network Ireland. It is a free, easy to use, innovative, confidential, psychosocial risk management process that provides feedback on workplace stress.  In addition, it looks into employee psychological wellbeing and critical incident exposure in the workplace. As a matter of fact, it is designed to deliver structured guidance enabling organisations to develop an action plan to mitigate against these stressors.

In addition, the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) has published a number of useful guidance, publications and resources on workplace stress.

Another beneficial course is a fully online Working Safely course. Working Safely is a 2 hour online course for people at any level, in any sector, that will boost business performance and staff motivation. Simply by showing how everyone can enhance their safety, health and wellbeing through everyday behaviours. The topics include importance of working safely, definitions of hazards and risks, common workplace hazards and how to improve safety performance.

 

Online Health and Safety Training

Proactive Health and Safety training is critical to ensure a safe workplace. An effective training program can reduce the number of worker injuries and deaths. It can also reduce instances of property damage, legal liability, illnesses, and missed time from work.

Health and Safety training helps establish a culture in which employees themselves help promote proper safety procedures while on the job. It is important that new employees be properly trained and embrace the importance of workplace safety. The role of training in developing and maintaining effective hazard control activities is a proven and successful method of intervention.

This is why we have established Myelearnsafety school. We pride ourselves in how we guide, support and mentor our students. They receive support throughout their learning experience and into their working lives. Our staff have extensive training experience and also have many years industry experience. We understand the challenges that exist within Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety. Our priority is to ensure that all learners are fully prepared to differentiate themselves in the workplace after completing our Health and Safety courses.

Myelearnsafety offers fully online Health and Safety courses.

To find out more, please check our Courses page.

Alternatively, should you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to let us know via email info@elearn.ie

elearn-safety-work-related-stress

eLearn Online Health and Safety Training

Workplace Risk Assessment

Workplace risk assessment is fundamental step of any workplace Safety Management System (SMS). A risk assessment is a process used to identify potential hazards and analyze what could happen if a disaster or hazard occurs.

 

Understanding Risk Assessment

In order to understand ‘risk’ and ultimately ‘risk assessment’ we must perhaps firstly comprehend what constitutes risk and what risk is. Why we, as humans take risks almost every day of our waking lives. We take risks at home, in the office, and certainly on our way to work in the mornings as we undergo the ‘commute’ and face the challenges inherent within.

Haimes (2009), discusses risk as an amalgamation of risk dimensions, but with a more ‘human’ understanding of a problem or ‘risk interpretation’. For example, the crusty ‘old timer’, has a subjective understanding of a system that only ‘he’ understands. To use an example of a ships’ engine, the ‘old boy’ can ‘hear’ the problem. They can almost ‘feel’ the problem, sensing the risk in its continued use as opposed to the new trainee. The new trainee approaches the problem from a ‘text book’ stance. Both individuals are aware of ‘risk’ but each approach the issue from completely different angles.

 

Risk as an Uncertainty Management

Power (2004), labels risk as ‘uncertainty management’. He goes on to discuss how we try to create ‘constructs’ in which we can work and live. For example, seatbelts, signage, ISO standards etc. Power (2004, p.9) states that “we cannot know the risks we face now or in the future but we must act as if we do”. This is perhaps the whole ‘crux’ of risk management and risk assessment. We ‘plan’ for an outcome, we anticipate it to a certain extent but we can never fully know what its full effect will be.

As previously mentioned, we wear seat-belts, and bikers wear helmets. Unfortunately, that that does not remove the risk of excessive speed or other motorists. We can experience a car crash, we can survive. We exit our vehicles in a state of shock but then we wander onto the motorway and are stuck by a passing vehicle whose driver’s attention has been taken up with their voyeuristic intent to see the carnage of our current situation. That momentary ‘lapse’ in their concentration dooms us. Although we have ‘planned’ for a certain risk, (a car crash), we have not planned for our own immobility or shock, nor the ignorance of outside observers.

 

Available Solutions

So, what can we do? How do we plan for risk and conduct adequate risk assessment. Can we remove or reduce the factors which precipitate disaster, and stop ourselves and others from for getting hurt? Hollnagel, (2008, p. 172) discuses resilience and how it requires the capacity for anticipation of risk and a management plan to be applied as risks arises. To this end, perhaps the ‘Robson Risk Management Model’ may be adequate and appropriate in this regard.

This model can be used in both a ‘personal’ concept and applied in an organisational context.

 

Perception of the Risk

The individual or organisation perceives that a risk may be inherent in a certain activity or action.

 

Risk Identification.

The risk(s) of the activity is ‘identified’ and ‘labelled’ (in the organisational context) with a ‘risk assessment’ form.

 

Assessing Risk

The risk is ‘assessed’ on the basis of its ‘potentiality’ and ‘gravity’. If we are competent and thoughtful driver, the likelihood that we will experience a car crash might be low, but still exist. The severity however, if we crash, might be catastrophic.

 

Risk Strategies

Stemming from the risk assessment above, numerous risk strategies are developed with a view to removing the risk even further. This can take the form of ‘avoidance’, transfer, retention or reduction. This is referred to as the ‘HOC’ or hierarchy of controls, and is applied as follows:

Eliminate hazard at source

Elimination of a hazardous material or method. This is a permanent solution which eliminates the offending item completely, however this may not always be a viable scenario. Some hazardous items must be used or worked with in their current state, such as ‘live’ munitions on a range.

Substitute hazard at source.

If it is possible to substitute an item. An example of which is when a military force might use ‘blank rounds’ for exercises and instruction of new entrants. This substitution completely removes the risk of ‘friendly fire’ occurring.

Isolate or enclose the hazard.

An example of this is range practices being conducted ‘only’ on certified and controlled ranges. An adequate security and signalling is there in place to prevent entry to non-firers and to inform others that a shoot is taking place. This allows for the hazard to be successfully isolated and controlled without the possibility of injury.

Engineering controls

Examples of this are the aforementioned security at ranges, flag system of notification and cordon enclosing the range.

Administrative controls

Adequate supply of qualified and experienced range managers ‘in situ’ to manage the firing, observe and enforce safety measures/controls and relieve one another for breaks throughout the day. This allows for fresh, focused and diligent staff to manage the activity.

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

The last measure is the use of the correct PPE. On range practices, shooters, range security, ‘butt party’ members (those controlling the targets) and range staff must all wear adequate PPE. PPE is in the form of a Kevlar helmet, double hearing protection and GSBA (general service body armour). This control enables an extra layer of protection in the unlikely event of a miss fire.

 

Risk Evaluation

Following all of the above measures, the risk is then re-evaluated in order to ascertain if it still poses the same levels of risk or if the necessary controls are adequate and appropriate to remove or reduce the threat as far as possible. However, it must always be borne in mind that the full elimination of risk is perhaps impossible as it encapsulates far too many variables (both known and unknown), such as human factors, equipment, environment and indeed the risk area itself, thus in order to live with risk we should perhaps understand that a measure of risk is ever present and ‘natural’ and may even be ‘necessary’ for our continued advancement as a species.

 

Online Health and Safety Training

Proactive Health and Safety training is critical to ensure a safe workplace. An effective training program can reduce the number of worker injuries and deaths. It can also reduce instances of property damage, legal liability, illnesses, and missed time from work.

Health and Safety training helps establish a culture in which employees themselves help promote proper safety procedures while on the job. It is important that new employees be properly trained and embrace the importance of workplace safety. The role of training in developing and maintaining effective hazard control activities is a proven and successful method of intervention.

This is why we have established Myelearsafety school. We pride ourselves in how we guide, support and mentor our students. They receive support throughout their learning experience and into their working lives. Our staff have extensive training experience and also have many years industry experience. We understand the challenges that exist within Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety. Our priority is to ensure that all learners are fully prepared to differentiate themselves in the workplace after completing our Health and Safety courses.

Myelearnsafety offers fully online Health and Safety courses.

To find out more, please check our Courses page.

Alternatively, should you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to let us know via email info@elearn.ie

 

eLearn Online Health and Safety Training

eLearn Online Health and Safety Training

Working in Confined Spaces

Working in confined spaces is a high risk working environment.

 

What does it mean Working in Confined Space

Any significantly enclosed space where there is a risk of death or serious injury from hazardous substances, lack of oxygen or other dangerous conditions is classed as a confined space. Confined spaces with small openings such as silos, drains, sewers and storage tanks are fairly obvious. Others are not. Ductwork, vats, open-topped chambers may be less obvious.

 

Before Working in Confined Space Commence

Before working in confined space commences, certain steps should be taken. All hazards present must be identified and the risks assessed. This information should then be used to determine what precautions are needed and safety procedures developed (including emergency rescue).

 

Confined Space Entry

If working in confined spaces can be avoided – it should be avoided.

According to the Health and Safety Authority of Ireland and the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Confined Spaces) Regulations 2001, Regulation 5 states that:

A person shall not carry out work in Confined Spaces if it is reasonably practicable that it could be avoided.

If the work must be carried out Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment must be carried out prior to the work commencing.

A person shall not enter a confined space unless there is a system of work in place that has been planned, organised, performed and maintained so as to render that work safe and without risk to health.

Anyone entering a confined space must be provided with appropriate information, training and instruction appropriate to the particular characteristics of the proposed work activities.

 

Questions to Ask

Before working in confined space commence, the following should be considered:

If someone is working in a confined space, think about the following:

Always:

Never:

 

Useful Resources

The Health and Safety Authority of Ireland (HSA) has a very useful info page titled Working in Confined Spaces. This page covers some of the most frequently asked questions about working in confined spaces.

In addition, the UK’s Health and Safety Executive info page titled Introduction to working in confined spaces can provide additional very useful information about working in confined spaces.

 

Tragic Example

As The Irish Times reported; on June 10th, 2015 brothers Alan (45) and Stephen Harris (32) were overcome by fumes while working in an underground sewer at Drumnigh Woods, Portmarnock, Co Dublin. They were taken from the sewer and taken to hospital but unfortunately died of hypoxia due to toxic levels of hydrogen sulphide.

The brothers were wearing wader boots and rain jackets and Stephen Harris was wearing a dust mask.

A toxic gas incident that claimed the lives of two brothers almost killed a fireman attempting to rescue them.

How It Could Have Been Avoided

Health and Safety Authority inspector Frank Kerins said the job required specialist equipment in accordance with confined space regulations, including a gas detector and breathing apparatus.

 

Online Health and Safety Training

Proactive Health and Safety training is critical to ensure a safe workplace. An effective training program can reduce the number of worker injuries and deaths. It can also reduce instances of property damage, legal liability, illnesses, and missed time from work.

Health and Safety training helps establish a culture in which employees themselves help promote proper safety procedures while on the job. It is important that new employees be properly trained and embrace the importance of workplace safety. The role of training in developing and maintaining effective hazard control activities is a proven and successful method of intervention.

This is why we have established Myelearsafety school. We pride ourselves in how we guide, support and mentor our students. They receive support throughout their learning experience and into their working lives. Our staff have extensive training experience and also have many years industry experience. We understand the challenges that exist within Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety. Our priority is to ensure that all learners are fully prepared to differentiate themselves in the workplace after completing our Health and Safety courses.

Myelearnsafety offers fully online Health and Safety courses.

To find out more, please check our Courses page.

Alternatively, should you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to let us know via email info@elearn.ie

Bullying in the Workplace

Bullying in the workplace is a serious moral, ethical and a legal issue.

According to the Health and Safety Authority of Ireland (HSA), bullying in the workplace can be defined as:

“… repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect, whether verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others, at the place of work and/or in the course of employment, which could be reasonably regarded as undermining the individual’s right to dignity at work…”

 

Occupational Health

Occupational health is the promotion and maintenance of not only physical well-being of all staff but also mental wellbeing. Bullying at work impacts performance and productivity at work as well as a person’s mental wellbeing. The best way of dealing with bullying in the workplace is prevention. Bullying can have serious negative effects for all those involved. This might include not only the person being bullied, but also the person being accused of bullying. It is important to distinguish bullying from other inappropriate situations or appropriate workplace engagement.

 

Examples of Bullying in the Workplace

Behaviour which makes for a bullying in the workplace pattern will likely include not just one but a range of the following behaviours:

 

What is not Bullying in the Workplace

Bullying does not include (non-exhaustive list):

 

Bullying in the Workplace – Stress and Violence

Bullying in the workplace can quickly escalate, introducing other unwanted hazards such as general stress that can lead to alcohol and drugs abuse and violence.

A large percentage of sick leave is due to stress. Employees should be encouraged to report stress and management should be trained to recognise the symptoms and causes of stress such as inability or reduced ability to cope with normal tasks and situations, increased sick leave and/or poor time keeping.

Violence abuse, threats, bullying or assault can cause stress and concern as well as a physical injury. Staff should be encouraged to report all occurrences to their supervisors who should record and investigate the details and if necessary report to the relevant authorities.

 

Preventing and Dealing with the Bullying at the Workplace

eLearn Safety has developed a fully online Bullying Awareness course. Bullying Awareness course is for all employees. It provides practical steps and conscientious guidance to help prevent, identify and confidently confront bullying and harassment at work.

If you feel you are being bullied at the workplace, the HSA has a useful information page What to do if You Feel You are Being Bullied. Additional useful resource is Code of Practice for Employers and Employees on the Prevention and Resolution of Bullying at Work.

 

Online Health and Safety Training

Proactive Health and Safety training is critical to ensure a safe workplace. An effective training program can reduce the number of worker injuries and deaths. It can also reduce instances of property damage, legal liability, illnesses, and missed time from work.

Health and Safety training helps establish a culture in which employees themselves help promote proper safety procedures while on the job. It is important that new employees be properly trained and embrace the importance of workplace safety. The role of training in developing and maintaining effective hazard control activities is a proven and successful method of intervention.

This is why we have established Myelearsafety school. We pride ourselves in how we guide, support and mentor our students. They receive support throughout their learning experience and into their working lives. Our staff have extensive training experience and also have many years industry experience. We understand the challenges that exist within Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety. Our priority is to ensure that all learners are fully prepared to differentiate themselves in the workplace after completing our Health and Safety courses.

Myelearnsafety offers fully online Health and Safety courses.

To find out more, please check our Courses page.

Alternatively, should you need any additional information, please do not hesitate to let us know via email info@elearn.ie