Psychosocial hazards are a risk to the mental health of workers. These hazards are “psychosocial” because they are caused by the work environment rather than the work itself.
Examples Of Psychosocial Hazards:
There are four main psychosocial hazards:
- Excessive workloads
- Conflict with co-workers
- Lack of social support at work
- Job insecurity.
1. Excessive workloads:
This was found to be the most common psychosocial hazard that workers reported. A study in Poland found that of the respondents, 81% claimed they experienced excessive workloads as a psychosocial hazard. One of the most common complaints of excessive workloads is when workers feel they are being given more work than they can handle. This leads to errors and eventually, burn-out.
2. Conflict with co-workers:
One of the most common psychosocial hazards in the workplace is conflict with co-workers. This can take many forms, such as disagreements about how work is done, personality clashes, or competition for limited resources. It can be very disruptive to the workplace and can lead to decreased productivity and increased stress levels.
3. Lack of social support at work:
Lack of social support at work can be a major psychosocial hazard. This can be due to a lack of social interaction with co-workers, a lack of support from supervisors, or a lack of social connection with others in the workplace.
Lack of social support can lead to a number of negative mental health outcomes, including isolation, depression, and anxiety. It can also lead to decreased job satisfaction and motivation, and increased absenteeism and turnover.
4. Job insecurity:
Job insecurity is a feeling of insecurity or anxiety about one’s employment status. It can be caused by various factors, such as layoffs, downsizing, mergers, and outsourcing. Job insecurity can lead to a number of negative outcomes, such as stress, anxiety, depression, and job dissatisfaction.
5. Bullying And Harassment Superiors:
Bullying and harassment of subordinates by their superiors can involve belittling, shouting, or making threats. It can also involve sexual harassment or discrimination. This type of psychosocial hazard can be very damaging to the individual’s mental health and can lead to reduced productivity or even resignation.
6. Unclear Job Expectations:
Unclear job expectations can be a source of psychosocial hazards for employees. When employees are not sure what is expected of them, they may feel anxious and stressed. This can lead to conflict with co-workers and supervisors, and can interfere with work performance.
Effects Of Psychosocial Hazards On A Company
1. Employee turnover
High levels of psychosocial hazards in the workplace can lead to high levels of employee turnover. Employees who are unhappy or stressed at work are more likely to leave their job, which can be costly and disruptive for a company.
2. Poor productivity
Psycho-social hazards can also lead to poor productivity in the workplace. Stressed or unhappy employees are less likely to be productive, which can impact the business’s bottom line.
3. Increased absenteeism
Psychosocial hazards can also lead to increased absenteeism in the workplace. Employees who are stressed or unhappy are more likely to miss work, which can impact the business’s productivity.
4. Lower morale
Psychosocial hazards can also lead to lower morale in the workplace. Employees who are unhappy or stressed are less likely to be happy at work, which can impact the overall mood of the workplace.
5. Higher rates of illness and injury could be some of the consequences.
Psychosocial hazards can also lead to higher rates of illness and injury in the workplace. Employees who are stressed or unhappy are more likely to get sick or injured, which can be costly and disruptive for a company.
How To Prevent Psychosocial Hazards In The Workplace
There are many ways to prevent psychosocial hazards in the workplace. Highlighted below are some ways
1. Create a positive and healthy work environment by establishing clear communication channels, promoting teamwork, and providing support to employees.
2. Encourage employees to take breaks and exercise regularly.
3. Promote a healthy lifestyle and positive body image among employees.
4. Encourage employees to discuss any interpersonal issues or mental health concerns openly. This will strengthen relationships among employees.
5. Offer employees access to mental health services.
6. Promote employee well-being through workplace policies and programs.
7. Educate employees about the signs and symptoms of common mental health conditions.
8. Encourage employees to seek help if they are experiencing a mental health crisis. Psychological therapy may be all that will be needed.
9. Provide employees with information and resources about mental health and suicide prevention through publications or talks.
10. Promote occupational health, workplace safety and prevent workplace violence.
11 . Keep communication open.
Open and honest communication is key to preventing and managing psychosocial hazards in the workplace. Make sure everyone is aware of the risks associated with stress and emotional labor, and be sure to communicate any concerns or problems as they arise.
12. Encourage self-care.
Encouraging employees to take care of themselves both physically and emotionally is an important part of preventing psychosocial hazards. Offer wellness programs, flexible work arrangements, and emotional support to help employees stay healthy and productive.
13. Promote a positive work environment.
A positive, supportive work environment is key to preventing psychosocial hazards. Make sure employees feel valued and appreciated, and create a culture of respect and cooperation.
14. Manage workloads and stress.
Managing workloads and stress is essential for preventing psychosocial hazards. Make sure employees have enough time to complete their tasks, and provide training and support to help them manage stress.
15. Address conflict and negativity.
Conflict and negativity can be major sources of stress in the workplace. Address these issues head-on, and make sure employees have the tools and resources they need to.
The workplace can be a dangerous place, with a variety of physical and psychosocial hazards. It is important for employers to identify and plan how to mitigate psychosocial hazards , in order to create a safe and healthy work environment.
Images: The Opus Centre & EKU Online / Deposit Image / Peachy essay