The job title of EHS professionals explains it all—they take care of people. But who will take care of them when job stresses pile up and they start to suffer from burnout?
Safety folks care deeply about others and they work hard to ensure everyone’s safety. But, according to Ray Prest’s article in Safety Decisions Magazine,
there’s a downside to being so driven. Burnout is always lurking around the corner. With a never-ending to-do list and a lack of recognition for the sizable load that they carry, there’s a high risk of exhaustion setting in.
By nature, the EHS profession is demanding and lonely. And this makes it easy for safety folks to push through the warning signs of burnout.
But burnout doesn’t go away, especially because, for safety professionals, the major causes of burnout in the safety profession are a big part of the job:
Management conflicts, a high degree of repetition, a lack of downtime, general stress—any of these sound familiar?
And the truth is, burnout has a huge impact on performance. Put simply, safety professionals who suffer from burnout are unable to keep people as safe as possible. So if they won’t consider helping themselves, they should consider preventing and tackling burnout for the sake of those in their care.
In his article, Prest provides actionable advice that safety professionals can use on a daily basis to prevent burnout and practice self-care. He addresses the subjects of physical care, motivation, job renewal and time off. And when it comes to taking time off, Prest stresses the importance of recovery, which doesn’t necessarily mean going on vacation, but taking short breaks:
Short breaks are one of the easiest ways to prevent workers from becoming fatigued on the job (and increasing their risk of injury as a result). The same is true for you. If you find yourself feeling chronically tired, give yourself permission to take some time to recover.
If you want to know more about how to practice self-care or think your supervisors or safety colleagues are on the brink of burnout, give the article a read and share it with them. As Ray says:
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is never going to create a self-care standard. So, you need to create one for yourself.