January 3, 2024
Employees who feel unsafe on the job are more likely to report symptoms of work-related depression and anxiety, and those who study worker mental health have discovered a relationship between anxiety and increased work injury rates, industry experts say.
“There is more and more data coming out showing just how inextricably intertwined mental health and physical health are in the workplace,” said Dennis Stolle, senior director of applied psychology at the Washington-based American Psychological Association.
Psychological safety, a concept defined as a belief that workers won’t be punished for raising concerns or making mistakes at work, is also on the radar for workplace safety researchers, said Shanna Tiayon, a social psychologist and CEO of Yes Wellbeing Works LLC, a Washington-based organization that focuses on employee wellbeing.
There’s a workplace correlation between psychological safety and stress, Ms. Tiayon said, and workers should be able to feel they can make mistakes without fear of retribution.
This is especially applicable to the high-risk manufacturing and construction sectors, she said, where not disclosing mistakes could potentially lead to injuries or death.