The concept of JOB STRESS is often confused with CHALLENGE.

These two concepts are NOT at all the same.


What Is Job Stress?

The response to demands and pressures that are not matched to the knowledge and abilities a person has to do that job.  The person’s ability to cope is challenged.  Job stress can lead to poor health (heart attack, hypertension, fatigue, headaches, back pain), as well as harmful physical and emotional responses (violence, suicide).

What is challenge?

Challenge is energizing both psychologically and physically.  Challenge motivates a worker to learn new skills and master a job.  When a challenge is met, the worker has a feeling of relaxation and satisfaction. Thus, challenge being an important ingredient for healthy and productive work from that worker.


Job stress has escalated progressively.  Studies show the following statistics from workers:

  • 80% of workers say they need help in learning how to manage stress
  • 26% say job stress is more strongly associated with health complaints than financial or family problems
  • 25% of workers have felt like screaming or shouting because of job stress
  • 18% have experienced some sort of threat or verbal intimidation in the past year
  • 14% have felt like striking a co-worker in the past year, but didn’t
  • 10% of workers are concerned about an individual at work becoming violent
  •   9% are aware of an assault or violent act in their workplace


We need to change our way of thinking.

Job stress prevention strategies focus on the worker, not the job.

The old way of thinking:

Occupations were put into two categories:   “the most stressful” to “the least stressful”

A new way of thinking:

What is stressful for one person may not be a problem for someone else, NO MATTER WHAT THE JOB IS.


  • Some individuals thrive in the fast lane, performing several duties at the same time and a list of things to do that would overwhelm most of us — provided they perceive they are in control. These individuals would be severely stressed by assembly line type of work.


  • Assembly line type of work is enjoyed by others that would rather not have a multitude of responsibility or simply want to perform a task that is well within their capabilities.


Job stress is real and needs to be monitored and managed.  Workers are human beings, not machines.  Workers are an asset in every business.



Premier Safety Solutions
Maryland Construction Safety Consultants

PO Box 353
Taneytown, MD 21787