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Consider the information presented in this unit regarding occupational health and safety. Prepare an article for a newspaper (approximately 3 pages) that discusses the top 10 causes of accidents in the work place and the steps that can be taken to reduce the number of those accidents. Support your claims with examples and research.
Reading Material Below:
Each year organizations spend large sums of money to tackle the negative consequences of workplace stress. Organizations also experience cash outflow because of the repercussions of workplace stress such as employee lawsuits and increased insurance costs. In addition stress negatively impacts employee motivation and performance, which hurts the overall performance of organizations. As a result it is important for Industrial and Organizational (I-O) psychologists to study the consequences of stress on employees and organizations, and determine the best methods to mitigate the negative consequences of workplace stress.
Let’s discuss the different workplace stressors that employees suffer at the workplace. Workplace stressors are the physical or psychological demands within the workplace to which employees react. These stressors can cause health problems for employees that in turn, may force them to avail a larger number of holidays or to remain absent without notice, which poses the problem of employee retention for organizations. Workplace stressors can be categorized as physical or task stressors and psychological stressors.
Physical or Task Stressors
Physical or task stressors are related to the environments of the work facility and the tasks or job responsibilities of employees. Physical stressors include noise and inadequate temperature control and lighting while the inability of employees to keep up with work demands is an example of a task stressor.
Psychological stressors refer to the perception of employees about their control over work settings, job roles and responsibilities, work or family conflict, and interpersonal relationships within the work setting. Psychological stressors related to employee roles and responsibilities can assume the following forms:
· Role Ambiguity: Is the extent to which employees understand work roles.
· Role Conflict: Occurs when employees experience stress because of the conflicting demands of different sources.
· Role Overload: Occurs when employees feel they are responsible for multiple roles concurrently.
An additional psychological stressor is the work or life conflict that occurs when employees feel conflicted between their work and personal lives. The employees may feel that they do not have adequate time for both their work and nonwork lives, which leads to a stressful situation where they try to balance both work and family.
I-O psychologists have developed a three-dimensional model to manage and reduce the negative effects of stress in the workplace. The three primary methods of stress prevention and reduction in the workplace are the primary, secondary, and tertiary stress-prevention strategies.
Primary Stress-Prevention Strategies
Primary stress-prevention strategies focus on changing or removing stressors in the workplace. These include work design, participative decision-making, and cognitive restructuring.
Work design structures tasks or jobs with the intent of reducing stress in the workplace. For example a machinist works with equipment that was not designed after considering the structure of the human body. The machinist may find it difficult to operate the equipment effectively, causing him to experience stress. To combat the stress that the machine created, the organization can introduce equipment that is more ergonomic.
Participative decision-making creates avenues in which employees can feel they are included in the decision-making process of their department or organization. For example the human relations department of an organization may organize an open forum every month, where employees can voice opinions about work.
Cognitive restructuring changes the perception of employees about a stressor to convert negative thoughts into positive. For example employees may feel their work overwhelming, and they do not have enough time to complete the work within a workday. Encouraging these employees may cause them to see the work as a challenge and not as a burden.
Let’s discuss the secondary and tertiary stress-prevention strategies.
Secondary Stress-Prevention Strategies
Secondary stress-prevention strategies focus on addressing stress by combating the reactions of employees to stressors. These include:
· Healthy lifestyle programs.
· Assistance with quitting smoking.
· Stress-management training.
· Time-management training.
· Relaxation training.
· Social support through contact with coworkers or groups of coworkers.
Although traditional approaches to workplace safety are still in use today, a shift has begun from the traditionalist approach that focused primarily on the safe behavior of an individual to a focus on workers, supervisors, and the organizational commitment to workplace safety. The importance of this transition is that the modern approach recognizes that the responsibility of safety is shared among employees, supervisors, and the organization. These approaches include the micro-organizational and macro-organizational approaches.
The micro-organizational approach focuses on the role of supervisors and subordinates in creating a safe work environment. It aims at creating a safe work environment by highlighting the need for proper equipment, self-regulation, and supervisor-subordinate safety committees. The goal of this approach is to spread awareness and instill a sense of responsibility among supervisors and subordinates by creating an organizational culture based on safety.
The macro-organizational approach focuses on the role of subordinate-supervisor communication channels and the importance of a centralized decision-making process. This approach assumes that the greater the lines of communication or relationship, the greater the likelihood that information about safety risks will be discussed among supervisors and subordinates.
Now let’s discuss how I-O psychologists deal with violence in the workplace.
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