The Occupational Safety and Health Administration put regulations in place to prevent the injury or illness of employees from workplace hazards.
More recently, stress and mental health hazards are receiving new attention as potential hazards given the potential consequences related to employment.
Consequences of stress in the workplace
Using a publication from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, OSHA takes the position that stress harms an individual’s health and creates or increases mental health concerns. These concerns can include emotional instability from anxiety, grief or depression or the development of a substance use disorder or mental health disorder. When these concerns are present in an individual’s life, it could lead to the following workplace situations:
- Reduced job performance
- Lower productivity
- Diminished physical capability or loss of daily functioning
- Poor work engagement and communication
OSHA establishes the workplace as a key area of life that triggers stress. It also declares the workplace as a key place to find solutions, resources and other activities to improve mental and physical well-being.
Regulations for stress in the workplace
Although OSHA maintains regulatory involvement over workplace hazards like slippery surfaces, falling objects and more, they do not address workplace stress or mental health hazards. This is true even when the issues are significant and potentially work-related. With public opinion and the mental health crisis growing, there is talk about using the General Duty Clause to regulate workplace stress.
For now, there is nothing in place with OSHA regarding workplace stress inspections. The positive news is that the issue is under debate with anticipated changes coming in the future.