Study: Workers who make their own decisions less stressed

by on September 24, 2013 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network

Workers who have freedom to decide how to do their work suffer less workplace stress, a study by Chinese workplace researchers has confirmed.

Researchers asked 650 oil field workers were asked about their autonomy on their job. Those results were compared to two things: “emotional exhaustion” levels and accident rates. The researchers found:

  • emotional exhaustion meant worse safety performance, and
  • higher levels of autonomous decision-making meant stress levels below an “exhausted” threshold, and thus better safety performance.

Note the study researched emotional exhaustion. Some job stress is a good thing – it’s when workers slack off or get blinded by familiarity that trouble starts. But if stress levels are so high that you are seeing signs of emotional exhaustion, such as frustrated outbursts or depression, take a look at workers’ levels of autonomy.

Sometimes if they can make decisions, they’ll feel more autonomy, and thus more energized to do their job safely.

Some options include:

  • choosing their own PPE
  • deciding what skills they need to learn/improve to do their jobs better, and
  • assisting in writing safe working procedures for their jobs.

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