Stress at work to be ‘inspectable’

I was heartened to hear that stress at work is going to be 'inspected' by the Health & Safety Executive under new criteria set out by their Management Standards.   I’ve broached the topic of stress at work in some of my previous blog posts. We deal with a work-related safety hazard that can cause a great amount of worry among plant and vehicle operators, who are concerned about having collisions with personnel working around their vehicles.

Many of our SiteZone users are in the construction industry – still a male dominated field. As we know, opening a dialogue about stress with men isn’t so comfortable an activity as it should be.  Convention suggests that men are just supposed to get on with it, and sweep any worries and stress aside. This is all well and good, until it starts to affect your health, and possibly your performance at work, making you a risk to yourself and others, if you are distracted. I feel that I must reiterate that there is an inextricable relationship between work-related safety and health, and it must be taken seriously. There are myriad causes of occupational stress at work, and safety conditions in high risk jobs has got to be among them, a cause worthy of scrutiny.

There are have been other developments to try and change the cultural approaches to health & safety. The launch of ISO 45001 has been a significant change, and its implications are being felt now as companies gear themselves to fulfil their obligations effectively before the three-year deadline for compliance is up.

ISO 45001 resonates with me, because through its application, there are hopes that it will increase (among other things) employee engagement, to help reduce the high instances of work-related ill health and safety breaches, worldwide. Did you know that on the last count, there were 2.78 million work-related deaths and 374 million non-fatal work-related injuries globally, as recorded by the International Labour Organization (ILO)? That’s a great many people having a very unsafe day at work.

At SiteZone Safety, our mission is to ensure that any workers that must interact in spaces with vehicles do so safely, feeling secure while they undertake their risky jobs, and going home unharmed. We are trying to do our part to reduce that startling ILO number. We believe strongly in listening to end-user feedback about the daily practicalities of their work requirements. It informs our technology development, to make SiteZone products perform better, safeguarding yet more lives.

We mustn’t forget also, that enhanced safety practices, enhance business performance. If workers are unharmed at the end of the day, then the risk of litigation is also reduced. Injured employees can’t come to work, so there’s the added outlay of covering absenteeism. The mindset behind safety culture revolution, I think, should be keeping your business healthy, by first seeing to the wellbeing of your staff. The knock-on effects are consistent productivity, happy employees, full coffers and a strong reputation.

I sincerely hope that the HSE takes into account that high risk industries may generate a unique demographic of stressed workers. They’re not suffering because of unreasonably long hours, or bullying, but from the inherent nature of the work they’re doing that demands the highest concentration to avoid possibly fatal safety breaches. There is help out there with technological advances. We know – SiteZone has proven that it makes such a difference to collision prevention. The real concern is that there are others out there, suffering needlessly, when there is help at hand, but someone has to start the conversation. Someone has to ask, “are you alright, do you need help, are you worried about what you’re doing?”

If it’s collision risk at work that’s keeping you awake at night, then the SiteZone team’s answer will always be ‘yes – we can help’.

About the author

Gary Escott is the co-founder of SiteZone Safety, he has worked in the field of mobile plant safety for 15 years and has worked on the introduction of technology based safety products across other sectors. His goal is reducing the risk of collisions between vehicles and vulnerable persons using innovative products and technology.

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