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Psychosocial work hazards require employer intervention


Psychosocial hazards in the workplace are causing physical and psychological harm to employees at increasing rates and driving a call to improve worker well-being, according to a report released Wednesday by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Psychosocial hazards are on the verge of surpassing many other occupational hazards, the report states. This could lead to a decrease in employee health, an increase in workplace injuries and disabilities and potentially higher workers compensation costs.

“The extensive and cumulative impacts of these exposures represent an alarming public health problem that merits immediate, increased attention,” NIOSH wrote.

Psychosocial hazards can also lead to burnout, cardiovascular disease, depression, high blood pressure, sleep disturbances and suicidal ideation, according to NIOSH.

Many workers are exposed to some degree of psychosocial hazards due to deadlines and trying to meet employer expectations, and also because of co-worker interactions and having to cope with difficult work organization processes, NIOSH said.

Employers can better mitigate work-related psychosocial hazards by focusing on altering working conditions rather than implementing individually tailored psychosocial supports, NIOSH stated.

“Organizational-level solutions approaches are likely to be more effective, have broader impact, and be more sustainable,” NIOSH wrote.