Stress and Safety Speaker

Hardhats and Safety Glasses Won’t Fix Stress

Speaking to groups across the country as a stress and safety speaker, I realize that among the many effects of the COVID pandemic, was the amount of stress ratcheted up on workers in construction, manufacturing and transportation.
The problem with stress is that it diverts awareness. That fact may not mean much in an accounting office or insurance agency, but to a person driving a forklift in a busy warehouse or to someone on an oil rig it can be catastrophic.

It’s a pretty big deal
About a year ago, the Gallup organization conducted an extensive survey of American workers and stress. CNBC interpreted the data in an article entitled “U.S. workers are among the most stressed in the world.”

To quote from the piece:
“57% of U.S. and Canadian workers reported feeling stress on a daily basis, up by eight percentage points from the year prior and compared with 43% of people who feel that way globally, according to Gallup’s 2021 report…this spike isn’t surprising to Jim Harter, Gallup’s chief workplace scientist. Concerns over the virus, sickness, financial insecurity and racial trauma all contributed to added stress during the pandemic.”​

On the topic of stress and safety, I need to add two important points: the study showed that women are feeling the stress more than men but and based on the latest industry statistics, women comprise 30 percent of manufacturing jobs and 74 percent of healthcare jobs. By the way, there are about (according to OSHA) more than 800,000 women in the construction industry.
If stress has been on the rise as the Gallup survey has found, there are tens of thousands of workers walking around who are accidents waiting to happen.

Hardhats and Safety Glasses Won’t Fix Stress
As a stress and safety speaker, I am worried that the topic of stress and mental health in general, are almost never addressed by safety speakers or company safety officers. It is understandable. When workers are taught safety skills such as wearing protective masks or the proper adjustments of a safety harness, instructors are on safe ground. However, when there is the crossover to mental health and emotional wellness, there are fears of saying the wrong thing or being intrusive.
Speaking on stress and safety, and having started my career in construction, let me share that addressing mental health should be mandatory. However, it is also important that workers should not wait for a safety officer or supervisor to start the conversation. It is everyone’s responsibility on the job site, whether as a nurse in the ICU or a line worker in an automotive factory.

It is essential that workers look out for one another.
Another point that must also be reinforced is what I might call stress and safety arrogance. The events of the past couple of years affected everyone. The stressors felt by highly-paid IT professionals or pharmaceutical sales teams, were equally (if not more so) felt by blue-collar workers, para-professionals and workers placed in hazardous conditions.

Recognizing workplace stress and mental health issues in a fellow worker should be everyone’s concern and everyone’s business.

To contact Mike Hourigan, Stress and Safety Speaker, for an in-person or virtual presentation, please call. Contact Mike today at (704) 875-3030 or fill out the form below.

Stress and Safety Speaker Mike Hourigan

Safety Speaker Mike Hourigan

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    Mike does much more than present one-of-a-kind keynote speeches - he provides fun and fact filled breakout sessions as well as dynamic training programs for numerous organizations like Marriott, Disney, Harley-Davidson and even the U.S. Army.