Everyone feels stressed from time to time. But what is stress? How does it affect your health? And what can you do about it?
Stress is how the brain and body respond to any demand. Every type of demand or stressor – such as exercise, work, school, major life changes, or traumatic events – can be stressful.
Stress can affect your health. It is important to pay attention to how you deal with minor and major stress events so that you know when to seek help.
Here are five things you should know about stress:
1 Stress affects everyone.
Everyone feels stressed from time to time. Some people may cope with stress more effectively or recover from stressful events more quickly than others. There are different types of stress – all of which carry physical and mental health risks. A stressor may be a one time or short term occurrence, or it can be an occurrence that keeps happening over a long period of time.
Examples of stress include:
- Routine stress related to the pressures of work, school, family, and other daily responsibilities
- Stress brought about by a sudden negative change, such as losing a job, divorce, or illness
- Traumatic stress experienced in an event like a major accident, war, assault, or a natural disaster where people may be in danger of being seriously hurt or killed. People who experience traumatic stress often experience temporary symptoms of mental illness, but most recover naturally soon after.
2 Not all stress is bad.
Stress can motivate people to prepare or perform, like when they need to take a test or interview for a new job. Stress can even be life-saving in some situations. In response to danger, your body prepares to face a threat or flee to safety. In these situations, your pulse quickens, you breathe faster, your muscles tense, your brain uses more oxygen and increases activity – all functions aimed at survival.
3 Long-term stress can harm your health.
Health problems can occur if the stress response goes on for too long or becomes chronic, such as when the source of stress is constant, or if the response continues after the danger has subsided. With chronic stress, those same life-saving responses in your body can suppress immune, digestive, sleep, and reproductive systems, which may cause them to stop working normally.
Different people may feel stress in different ways. For example, some people experience mainly digestive symptoms, while others may have headaches, sleeplessness, sadness, anger or irritability. People under chronic stress are prone to more frequent and severe viral infections, such as the flu or common cold. Routine stress may be the hardest type of stress to notice at first.
Because the source of stress tends to be more constant than in cases of acute or traumatic stress, the body gets no clear signal to return to normal functioning. Over time, continued strain on
your body from routine stress may contribute to serious health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other illnesses, as well as mental disorders like depression or anxiety.
4 There are ways to manage stress.
The effects of stress tend to build up over time.Taking practical steps to manage your stress can reduce or prevent these effects.The following are some tips that may help you to cope with stress:
- Recognize the Signs of your body’s response tostress, such as difficulty sleeping, increased alcoholand other substance use, being easily angered,feeling depressed, and having low energy.
- Talk to Your Doctor or Health Care Provider.Get proper health care for existing or newhealth problems.
- Get Regular Exercise. Just 30 minutes perday of walking can help boost your moodand reduce stress.
- Try a Relaxing Activity. Explore stress copingprograms, which may incorporate meditation,yoga, tai chi, or other gentle exercises. For somestress-related conditions, these approaches areused in addition to other forms of treatment.Schedule regular times for these and other healthyand relaxing activities. Learn more about thesetechniques on the National Center forComplementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)website at (www.nccih.nih.gov/health/stress).
- Set Goals and Priorities. Decide what must getdone and what can wait, and learn to say no tonew tasks if they are putting you into overload.Note what you have accomplished at the end ofthe day, not what you have been unable to do.
- Stay Connected with people who can provideemotional and other support.To reduce stress, askfor help from friends, family, and community orreligious organizations.
Consider a Clinical Trial. Researchers at theNational Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), NCCIH,and other research facilities across the country arestudying the causes and effects of psychologicalstress, and stress management techniques.Youcan learn more about studies that are recruitingby visiting www.nimh.nih.gov/joinastudy orwww.clinicaltrials.gov (keyword: stress).
5 If you’re overwhelmed by stress, ask for help from a health professional.
You should seek help right away if you have suicidal thoughts, are overwhelmed, feel you cannot cope, or are using drugs or alcohol to cope.Your doctor may be able to provide a recommendation.You can find resources to help you find a mental health provider by visiting www.nimh.nih.gov/findhelp.
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Anyone experiencing severe or long-term, unrelenting stress can become overwhelmed. If you or a loved one is having thoughts of suicide, call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (http:// suicidepreventionlifeline.org/) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to anyone.All calls are confidential.
For More Information
For more information on conditions that affect mental health, resources, and research, visit www.mentalhealth.gov, or the NIMH website at www.nimh.nih.gov. In addition, the National Library of Medicine’s MedlinePlus service has information on a wide variety of health topics, including conditions that affect mental health.
National Institute of Mental Health
Office of Science Policy, Planning and Communications
Science Writing, Press, and Dissemination Branch
6001 Executive Boulevard
Room 6200, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
Phone: 301–443–4513 or
Toll-free: 1–866–615–NIMH (6464)
TTY: 301–443–8431 or TTY Toll-free: 1–866–415–8051
NIH Publication No. OM 16-4310
According to OSHA, a Maine-based roofing contractor has ignored numerous safety standards and exposed workers to significant fall risks for a number of years. OSHA cited the contractor – which has operated under the names Lessard Roofing & Siding and Lessard Brothers Construction – for safety violations at 11 different worksites between 2000 and 2011. However, the contractor failed to address the citations or pay any of the issued fines.
In 2011- after Lessard initially failed to address the OSHA citations – the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the contractor to correct the worksite violations, implement appropriate safety measures and pay accumulated fines with interest. Now, the court has held Lessard’s owner in civil contempt for defying the original 2011 order.
As a part of the recent court ruling, Lessard must do the following:
- Provide financial documentation to demonstrate the contractor’s ability to pay the $389,685 in outstanding OSHA fines.
- Ensure that employees and contractors use required safety equipment and fall protection.
- Conduct worksite safety analyses and meetings.
- Employ a competent person to ensure work proceeds according to OSHA regulations.
- Give OSHA details about each of the contractor’s worksites so the agency can conduct safety inspections.
Falls from ladders and roofs still account for the majority of injuries at work. In fact, fall protection violations are one of OSHA’s most frequent citations every year, with 6,072 issued in 2017 alone. Identifying fall hazards and deciding how to protect workers is the first step in eliminating or reducing fall hazards. Contact us at 831-661-5697 for OSHA programs, presentations and training materials you can use to protect your employees and avoid costly fines.
Why is job safety and health important?
In 2013, 4,585 employees died from occupational incidents, and there were a staggering 3.0 million total recordable cases of workplace injury and illness. On average, each of these 3.0 million cases required eight days away from work, which means U.S. employers as a whole paid for millions of days of lost work time. Experts estimate that workplace injuries and illnesses cost U.S. businesses more than $125 billion annually. Effective job safety and health programs not only help reduce worker injuries and illnesses, they save employers money in the long run.
How does OSHA contribute to job safety and health?
The primary goal of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is to carry out the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), which Congress originally passed in 1970. The OSH Act has undergone several amendments and revisions since its inception, but it is still in place “to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources.” OSHA contributes to job safety and health by enacting regulations that forward this ideal.
Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Parts 1902-1990, houses all the OSHA standards, though OSHA also allows states to enact occupational safety and health laws of their own under federally-approved plans. State-run programs are at least as strict, and sometimes more so, than federal standards. This ensures a minimum standard of job safety and health that all employers must follow to protect employees.
Are all employees covered by the OSH Act?
The OSH Act covers all employees except public employees in state and local governments and those who are self-employed. Public employees in state and local governments are covered by their state’s OSHA-approved plan, if applicable.Federal employees are covered under the OSH Act’s federal employee occupational safety and health programs, which are outlined in 29 CFR Part 1960.
United States Postal Service employees, however, are subject to the same OSH Act coverage provisions as those in the private sector.Other federal agencies that have issued requirements affecting job safety or health include the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and some agencies of the Department of Transportation (DOT), including the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Employees in these industries are subject to their respective regulations.Additionally, businesses in the retail, service, finance, insurance and real estate sectors that are classified as low-hazard are exempt from most OSHA requirements, as are small businesses with 10 or fewer employees. Exceptions are discussed in 29 CFR Part 1904, which also explains which OSHA regulations exempt employers are still required to follow.
What are your responsibilities as an employer?
If you are an employer covered by the OSH Act, you must provide your employees with jobs and a place of employment free from recognized hazards that are causing, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm. You must also comply with the OSHA statutory requirements, standards and regulations that require you to:
- Provide well-maintained tools and equipment, including appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Provide medical assistance and guidance for employees sustaining workplace injuries/illnesses
- Provide required OSHA training
- Report accidents that result in fatalities to OSHA within eight hours
- Report accidents that result in the hospitalization of three or more employees to OSHA within eight hours
- Keep records of work-related accidents, injuries, illnesses and their causes
- Post annual injury/illness summaries for the required period of time
What are your rights as an employer?
When working with OSHA, you may do the following:
- Request identification from OSHA compliance officers
- Request an inspection warrant
- Receive a reason for inspection from compliance officers
- Have an opening and closing conference with compliance officers
- Accompany compliance officers on inspections
- Request an informal conference after an inspection
- File a notice of contest to citations or proposed penalties
- Apply for a variance from a standard’s requirements under certain circumstances
- Be assured of the confidentiality of trade secrets
- Submit a written request to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for information on potentially toxic substances in your workplace
What are employees’ responsibilities?
All employees are obligated to help prevent exposure to workplace safety and health hazards by becoming familiar with and adhering to all applicable OSHA requirements.
What are employees’ rights?
With regards to OSHA regulations, employees have the right, among other actions, to:
- Review employer-provided OSHA standards, regulations and requirements
- Request information from the employer on emergency procedures
- Receive adequate, OSHA-required safety and health training on toxic substances and emergency action plan(s)
- Ask the OSHA area director to investigate hazardous conditions or violations of standards in the workplace
- Have his or her name withheld from the employer when filing a complaint with OSHA
- Know what actions OSHA took as a result of the employee’s complaint and have an informal review of any decision not to inspect or issue a citation
- Have an employee representative accompany the OSHA compliance officer on inspections
- Observe monitoring and measuring of toxic substances or harmful physical agents and review related records (including medical records)
- Review the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA 300 Form), if applicable, at a reasonable time
- Request a closing discussion following an inspection
- Object a citation’s set abatement period
- Seek safe and healthful working conditions without your employer retaliation
Why is OSHA important to your business?
OSHA plays a key role in making your facility a safe, healthy place to work. Beyond providing the tools and guidance to work toward an injury- and illness-free workplace, OSHA is important in identifying businesses that are not committed to safety. Employers that do not carefully follow OSHA regulations often face hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars in fines.
How can you get more information on safety and health?
OSHA provides free publications, standards, technical assistance and compliance tools to help you understand the nuances of the regulations. OSHA’s website also offers extensive assistance by way of workplace consultation, voluntary protection programs, grants, strategic partnerships, state plans, training and education to guide you in your quest for workplace safety. To learn more about OSHA and the critical elements of a successful safety and health management system in your workplace, visit www.osha.gov.
This document is an introductory guideline. It does not address all potential compliance issues with OSHA standards. It is not meant to be exhaustive or construed as legal advice. Contact your licensed commercial property and casualty representative at Scurich Insurance or legal counsel to address applicable compliance requirements. © 2009-2012, 2015 Zywave, Inc. All rights reserved.