Despite a lingering social stigma surrounding mental health issues, modern workers are generally encouraged to be more open and proactive about maintaining their mental health. As the medical community and the general public become more aware of the impact of stress, depression and other occupational hazards, there is a greater expectation for employers to help their staff deal with these issues.
Considering the impact of a workplace on the mental health of workers is fundamental to maintaining a safe and efficient environment. However, employers who engage their workers and try to develop real solutions to mental health concerns can actually make their organization stronger and more profitable in the long-term. Modern businesses simply can’t afford to ignore the impact of mental health issues on their daily operations.
Mental Health and Workplace Safety
In high-risk industries, like energy extraction and processing, physical safety is always prioritized over mental health. While this is an obvious necessity when lives are at stake, it can lead to a system that tends to ignore or sideline non-critical issues. Companies in these industries need to take extra steps to ensure that they are addressing the mental health of workers alongside their physical health.
Poor mental health doesn’t necessarily describe a formal or chronic medical condition. Extended periods of insufficient rest and prolonged stress can lead even the most experienced and level-headed crew member to make fundamental mistakes. Social interactions between workers and general team cohesion tends to suffer when mental health needs are left unaddressed, which can also have a disastrous effect on employee morale and productivity.
Lead the Discussion and Encourage Participation
Many employees are uncomfortable discussing personal health issues in a workplace environment and employers shouldn’t pressure them to do so. However, companies should take the first steps by reaching out and starting a discussion. Company policies should reflect the mental health needs of workers and provide a path for employees to express their concerns or seek assistance when needed. These policies should allow workers to participate in programs in a private and professional setting when possible.
Company and team leaders also need to be ready to hear the truth from their workers and be prepared to actually address them. In many cases, the specific nature of a company’s industry and operations determines the options and opportunities for remediation.
For example, companies with many off-shore employees can’t realistically ferry workers back and forth to land every week, but they can provide flexible long-term schedules and improve on-site communication equipment to facilitate remote visitation. Providing extra social and domestic amenities can also alleviate some of the mental stress associated with long periods away from home.
Make Mental Health a Priority
Expeditors & Production Services isn’t just a leading provider of logistics services for the energy industry, we also provide comprehensive staffing and safety training solutions for our clients. Our safety experts understand the mental health concerns common in the industry and how companies can shift their tactics to address them.
With experience in staffing, management and consulting, we have had the opportunity to examine workplace health issues from all the major angles. This allows us to give our customers a personnel edge that helps them increase safety, get more value from their investments and minimize waste.