Oct 3, 2022

How Workplace Stress Affects Safety

Key Takeaways:

  • Workplace stress stems from personal life as well as job related difficulties. It manifests in different forms and must be addressed on an individual basis as well as a wider level.
  • Workplace stress can put a dent in safety and increase unassumed risk for contractors and their hiring organization.
  • Contractors should take the proactive steps to safeguard themselves by learning how to cope with stress in the workplace.
  • Stress management can be used as a powerful safety tool to ensure utmost productivity and compliance.

Stress can have a significant impact on workplace safety for contractors. When you're feeling stressed out, it's difficult to focus on the task at hand and stay alert. This can lead to unsafe work practices and mistakes that can put you and your crew in danger. The good news is that there are things you can do to manage stress and stay safe on the job. In this blog post, we'll talk about the impact of stress on workplace safety and offer some tips for how to manage stress in a way that keeps your organization and your contractors safe.

What Is Workplace Stress?

Stress is an inevitable part of life that comes in different forms. But when it comes to contracting work, it can have a serious impact on safety. In fact, studies have shown that stress can lead to all sorts of accidents and injuries. Contractors are especially at risk, since they're often under a lot of pressure to meet deadlines. There are all sorts of ways to deal with stress, and everyone has their own way of coping. What's important is that you find a way to manage stress levels at your workplace so it doesn't interfere with the safety of your operations. If you're not sure where to start, speak with your contractors and general workforce and request their input. They can help you come up with a plan that mitigates stress and decreases the likelihood of injury.

How Does Stress Affect Workplace Safety?

When your workforce is stressed, it can be tough for them to focus on their work in a safe and productive manner. And that can pose a major risk in labor demanding industries such as construction. That's because stress can lead to accidents and prolonged illness that interferes with work. In fact, NIOSH has found that long-term stress can lead to increased incidence of cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, psychological disorders, and impaired immune systems. For employers, stress even in the short term can affect healthcare, insurance, and liability costs, as well as contractor retention and absenteeism.

How Can Contractors Manage Stress to Improve Workplace Safety?

What can contractors do to manage stress and improve workplace safety? First and foremost, it's important to create a culture where your workforce feels comfortable sharing their concerns. Sharing can help to significantly reduce stress for an individual.

Second, your site supervisors should encourage their workers to take breaks, even if it is just for a few minutes. Breaks allow workers to step away from the job and clear their heads, which can help them stay focused when they return. Frequent breaks also can help increase morale and reduce the risk of overworking.

Finally, supervisors should be trained to spot signs of mental health struggles and high stress. When workers are struggling, it's important to provide them with the support they need to get back on track. Failing to do so allows their mental stressors to sneak into workplace practices, putting them and their coworkers at risk.

The Benefits of Managing Stress in the Workplace

As a safety professional, it's important to be aware of the impacts of stress on safety and productivity in the workplace. When workers are stressed, they're more likely to make mistakes that could be costly to your company. They may also be less likely to follow safety protocols. High stress levels can also have negative impacts on mental health, physical health, and relationships. This can lead to contractors willfully leaving their jobs, getting job restrictions imposed on them, and leaving projects incomplete.

Efficient stress management is not only good for your workplace, but it can also be a great way to safeguard your safety strategy. There are many ways to manage stress on a personal and individual level, such as relaxation techniques, exercise, and therapy. If you're looking for a more comprehensive approach, there are also programs that can help integrate stress management in the workplace.

Managing Stress in the Workplace as a Contractor

Imagine this: you're a contractor who's been working on a job for months. The deadline is fast approaching, and the pressure is starting to take its toll. You're not getting enough sleep, you're constantly stressed out, and your health is beginning to suffer. Sound familiar? If it does, then you're not alone. In fact, workers commonly express that stress and anxiety are the leading factors contributing to a loss of productivity. And construction workers are one of the groups that are especially vulnerable to stress.

The good news is that there are things you can do to manage stress in the workplace. Here are a few tips:

  • Take breaks regularly and get some fresh air 
  • Eat healthy foods and drink plenty of water
  • Make sure you're getting enough sleep 
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol 
  • Take time for yourself to relax and de-stress
  • Speak with your supervisors and managers about work stressors
  • Communicate with your coworkers


Stress can have a significant impact on the safety of workers in any industry, but it can be especially dangerous for contractors who face major hazards at their job, work under tight deadlines, or deal with inefficient management. Contractor management and health and safety programs can help address and mitigate the risks associated with stress in the workplace.

If you're a contractor, it's important to be aware of the risks associated with stress and take steps to ensure your safety and the safety of your workers. Maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle is one way to reduce the amount of stress you experience, and make sure that it doesn't affect your work. It is also vital to never overlook how stress from your job arises, and how it can be appropriately managed. Efficient stress management protocols can help you stay safe while working under pressure.

About the Author

Addison Moore
Director of Marketing at Contractor Compliance

Addison has spent the last four years learning from and participating in the Health & Safety community. He has travelled to numerous EHS conferences, trade shows and events with the intention of helping organizations with their contractor management programs. Addison is also responsible for curating the collection of white papers, case studies and eBooks that provide real world insights into the workforce safety space.

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