Safety column: Stress in the work place

safety image sept 2018 ocn

Special to Ottawa Construction News

By Chantal Blais

Workplace stress is the harmful physical and emotional responses that can happen when there is a conflict between job demands on the employee and the amount of control an employee has over meeting these demands.

Workplace stress can be caused by a number of factors – from heavy workloads and over-promotion to bullying and blame culture.

Some common causes of stress in the workplace are:

• Unrealistic deadlines;
• Making people feel rushed;
• Under pressure and overwhelmed; and
• High workloads.

Symptoms of stress in the workplace:
• Fatigue;
• Muscular tension;
• Headaches;
• Confusion;
• Being discouraged;
• Heart palpitations;
• Sleeping difficulties, such as insomnia;
• Gastrointestinal upsets, such as diarrhoea or constipation; and
• Dermatological disorders.

Here are some ideas about how to manage stress:
• Track your stressors. Write them down;
• Develop positive responses;
• Establish boundaries for yourself;
• Take time to recharge;
• Learn how to relax and breath;
• Talk to your supervisor. Don’t be shy; and
• Get some support-family, friends.

Ways to maintain a positive attitude in the workplace include:
• Surround yourself with positive people;
• Fill your mind with positive input;
• Control your language and behaviour;
• Create a routine for the day;
• Be nice to other people-be that better person; and
• Don’t rely on an outside source of positivity-mind over matter.

Ways to be happy at work:
• Choose to be happy at work. Enjoy your job;
• Do something you love every single day;
• Take charge of your own professional and personal development. You’re the boss;
• Take responsibility for knowing what is happening at work. Be involved;
• Ask for feedback frequently;
• Make only commitments you can keep; and
• Avoid negativity and turn it to positive thoughts.

Chantal Blais is the operations manager at LaborTek Personnel/Safety Training Services. For more information, see


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