Burnout can affect workers from head to toe — Occupational health and safety

Burnout can affect workers from head to toe

Providing workers with adequate foot protection should be a moral obligation.

Over the past two years, the global Covid-19 crisis has continued to teach us about ourselves, communities, the workplace and humanity. Despite the unpredictable obstacles thrown at every industry and workplace, frontline workers continue to be a constant source of reliability and strength for every community.

As 2022 dawned, it was abundantly clear that successful companies must be proactive to retain employees and boost morale. Understandably, frontline workers are tired and exhausted. They work longer hours, in addition to increased demands at home.

According to the World Health Organization, work stress that persists without effective management can lead to burnout syndrome. It is broken down into three categories:

  1. feeling exhausted
  2. Increased negativity or emotional distance from work
  3. Reduced productivity

Year after year since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the American workplace has seen an increase in burnout. Before the pandemic, burnout was a hot topic in many industries, but now more than ever, it’s jeopardizing the future of businesses large and small across the country.

Coming Hazards

One thing has become crystal clear in the Covid-19 pandemic: expect the unexpected. Knowing that the road ahead is unpredictable can give managers and business owners the foresight to work proactively to keep employees safe, engaged and productive.

First, it is important to analyze the role and day-to-day procedures of each employee. Is their work repetitive? Does it require lifting? Do they stand all day on hard, uneven floors? If their role requires increased physical activity, do they receive the care, support and comfort necessary to do their job safely and effectively?

Analyzing each worker’s job can help management identify ergonomic hazards in their workforce. For example, force is a common ergonomic hazard. Imagine a delivery driver, each stop requires lifting packages of different sizes. These heavy external loads generate internal muscle contractions that lead to high levels of stress in the joints and exert greater compression on the spine. Sedentary workers still experience this danger in a way that everyone can relate to. Prolonged sitting increases stress in the spine, and the simple act of walking on the floor results in force exertion based on our shoes and reactive forces.

This article originally appeared in the April 2022 issue of Occupational Health and Safety.