Job stress is the deleterious physical or psychological responses we experience due to inability of the worker`s needs,resources or capabilities to meet the expectations of the job.It is the collective disturbances experienced from an adverse or challenging situation on the job.

Stress is not always bad.Good stress or eustress is the where a challenge or demand motivates us psychologically or physically to learn new skills,interests,adapt positively to changes or even master our jobs.While stress or distress is the negatively feeling of fear or frustration when a challenging job demand cannot be met which paves the way for likely injury,illness or job failure.

The Consequences of Job Stress :

  1. Economic : Us employers pay over $300 Billion per year absenteeism,staff turnover,accidents,lower productivity,worker`s compensation,medical,legal and insurance costs all due to job-related stress.
  • It costs 120-200% of the affected position to replace an average employee.
  • Stress accounts for more than 40% of job turn over
  • It costs a large company more than 3.6 Million/year on average for employee absenteeism.
  • More health problems are associated with job stress than family and problems.
  • Studies show that improvements in working conditions,work designs and social support reduces heart disease by 25%
  • Stress accounts for 60% of lost of work days each year.
  • Workers who report job stress incur nearly 50% of health expenditure.
  • Job-related stress accounts nearly 44% of women quitting their jobs and 36% of men.

2.Health Effects :

  • Cardiovascular-Studies show that the risk of  heart disease increases profoundly among employees with psychologically jobs who feel they have little control.
  • Musculoskeletal-Research from NIOSH and many organisations posit that upper extremity,back pain and musculoskeletal maladies increase with job stress.
  • Psychosocial-Differences in job stress levels can be attributed to depression and burnout.
  • Workplace Injuries-There is a strong suspicion that employees with job stress are more place to occupational hazards due to poor adherence to safety measures.

Unmitigated stress can take any of the following patterns:


Examples of Job Stressors

  1. Physical Stressors-
  • Ergonomic stressors
  • Inadequate and outdated equipments
  • Excessive noise
  • Rotating shifts
  • Repetitive tasks
  • Poor indoor ventilation
  • Fast-paced work
  • Insufficient breaks
  • Hazardous waste exposure
  • Habitually/compulsorily sedentary.


  • Lack of recognition
  • Sexual/gender/racial discrimination
  • Unrealistic deadlines
  • Sustained and excessive overtime
  • Job dissatisfaction
  • Job insecurity
  • Repetitive tasks
  • Poor relationship with workers
  • Poor relationship with management
  • Lack of supervision
  • Favoritism
  • Lack of respect
  • Poor communication
  • Conflicting demands
  • Lack of input in decisions
  • Dead-end jobs


Primary Prevention :Prevention is essential to improve quality,productivity,health care costs and morale.In essence, a healthy and productive working environment is the ultimate.Precautionary and proactive initiatives adopted by organizations to prevent illness among workers like the following steps can be cost effective :

  1. Organizational:
  • job design
  • ensuring workload matches worker`s capabilities and resources
  • improving ergonomics and work/environmental design.
  • job demand/workload matches worker`s capabilities and resources
  • participation in decisions and actions affecting workers by workers.
  • job stratification
  • compatibilities between work schedule and demand/responsibilities.
  • enhanced communication among workers.

2.  Individual :

  • Lifestyle modification
  • Stress perception management.

Secondary Prevention:In order to prevent progression to stress and strain,secondary prevention attempts to modify a worker`s response to stressors through the following measures :

  1. Organizational :
  • continuous professional development programs/training
  • team work
  • incorporating health and fitness facilities in the workplace.
  • stratification of programs.

2.Individual :

  • regular physical activity
  • proper nutrition
  • social support
  • emotional outlets
  • meditation.

Tertiary Prevention :The aim here is to ameliorate the effects of stress once they have occurred hence this intervention is reactive rather than proactive.

  1. Organizational :
  • worker`s assistance programs

2.Individual :

  • traumatic events proactive programs
  • medical and psychological care.

To have a significant and substantial impact on the workforce and business objectives,efforts must be geared towards intervention and assessment on multiple levels :individual,groups and organizational.

Andrew Okpetu