Does dangerousness at work affect mental health?

From 10 May until 16 May 2021, the NGO Mental Health Europe (MHE) is celebrating the second edition of the European Mental Health Awareness Week, in order to raise awareness about the importance of mental health in our everyday lives.

At ENGIDI, we regularly see how dangerousness not only affects worker productivity and efficiency, but also employees’ mental health. The simple acknowledgement of the risks their job has in their physical health or by seeing nearby accidents in which they can feel identified cause negative thinking patterns that inmediatly affect their mental health.

According to a Harvard Medical School research, in one study examining the financial impact of 25 chronic physical and mental health problems, the researchers tabulated the amount of money the companies spent on medical and pharmacy costs for employees, as well as employees’ self-reported absenteeism and lost productivity, using the WHO questionnaire. When researchers ranked the most costly health conditions (including direct and indirect costs), depression ranked first, and anxiety ranked fifth.

According to Statistics Canada, 33% of men in the construction industry report poor mental health and 64% of construction workers wished that their employers did more to support mental health. Other relevant data indicates that in the US, construction workers have the highest suicide rate compared to every other industry.

Steps can be taken by management in order to protect the physical safety of employees – including policies, training, appropriate response to incidents or situations identified as risks, and incorporation of technology, which in summary will demonstrate concern for employees’ physical safety.

On the other hand, managers need to be aware of the fact that the use of IoT can affect the mental health of the employees when feeling controlled or analyzed by a technological tool. That is why at ENGIDI we always promote training and transparency so employees can notice themselves that the incorporation of IoT is not intended to control workers but to reduce the dangerousness of their work and ensure conditions that make them feel supported in their job function.

In any case, if you feel identified with any of the symptoms of poor mental health or have detected these symptoms in someone close to you, don’t hesitate to ask your supervisor for help or visit a mental health professional for guidance and support.

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