The State of California issued its annual report on Occupational Health Exposures at the workplace for 2019. The excellent report focuses on a # of occupational exposures but has no information on occupational psychosocial work hazards. It is very important that information on work stressors be added to future surveys as they consitute the bulk of risk for negative health outcomes among working people today.
Psychosocial hazards are closely related to traditional workplace risk factors and a logical extension to them. Physical exposures such as noise, chemicals and machinery can become psychosocial hazards when they are intense and frequent forcing workers to be vigilant to avoid injury or accidents. This form of stressor is called Threat-avoidant-vigilance and is common in many occupations such as bus drivers. Another key point is that working conditions since the 70’s have changed dramatically with the decline in unionization. More and more workers are exposed to longer work hours with more demanding working conditions contributing to work stressors such as job strain the result of excessive demands and too little control over work processes.
These changes are contributing to making work more stressful and increasing the #’s of workers exposed to noxious psychosocial working conditions.