Feelings of Being Unsafe at Work May Correlate to Depression, Anxiety

Feelings of Being Unsafe at Work May Correlate to Depression, Anxiety

A new study from NSC found people who felt unsafe at work were more like to experience symptoms of anxiety or depression than their coworkers who felt safe.

A new study potentially shows a correlation between feeling unsafe at work and having symptoms of depression or anxiety.

National Safety Council (NSC) conducted a survey of 1,001 workers in the US aged 20-65 from March 23-28, 2022.

The survey’s results found that respondents who felt unsafe were three times as likely to have symptoms of depression. Of the people who reported feeling “very unsafe,” 40 percent said their symptoms of depression happen “all or most days.” When looking at the people who reported feeling safe at work, only 1 percent had symptoms of depression all or most days.

Many respondents who do not feel safe at work also reported symptoms of anxiety. In fact, those who felt unsafe were twice as likely to have symptoms of anxiety. Nearly 25 percent of those who said they are “very unsafe” have symptoms of anxiety “all or most days.” A small percentage, 2 percent, of people who felt safe at work also had symtomps of anxiety all or most days.

“To be safe, one must also feel safe. Feeling unsafe at work is hurting people, and more must be done to combat this in a holistic way,” said John Dony, vice president of thought leadership at the National Safety Council said in NSC’s article. “Employers everywhere must accept responsibility for their impact on workers on and off the clock by implementing safety policies and procedures that protect the whole person, including both physically and mentally.”

To help employers improve workers’ mental health, NSC provided a list of resources on its website like materials, consulting information and a literature review by Campbell Institute.

About the Author

Alex Saurman is a former Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety,who has since joined OH&S’s client services team. She continues to work closely with OH&S’s editorial team and contributes to the magazine.

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