Workload & Job Demands

December 21, 2023 Member News

by Matt Littleboy, Workplace Health and Safety Officer

Do you feel like you’re not given enough time to complete all the tasks you are expected to? Or that you have to work faster than is safe?

If you answered yes to either of these questions, there’s a good chance your workload is unsafe.
Working in retail, fast food or warehousing can be demanding, but this doesn’t mean the risks associated with unsafe workloads shouldn’t be taken seriously.

Your employer has a legal responsibility to ensure that all reasonable steps are taken to keep you safe at work. This includes recognizing and managing psychosocial hazards.

Managing these hazards and their risk is an essential part of creating a safe, healthy and productive workplace and ensuring your safety at work.

What are some signs of an unsafe workload?

Psychosocial hazards such as unsafe workloads are often overlooked as they many not be as obvious as physical hazards.

Some signs of high or unsafe workloads include:

  • Unachievable task deadlines, expectations or responsibilities
  • Too much to do in a set time with insufficient workers or resources
  • Multiple tasks that require repeated rapid switching between each to complete them, so it is difficult to concentrate
  • Unpredictable shifts or hours of work, shift structures or rosters that do now allow adequate time for you to recover

The impact of unsafe workloads

Unsafe workloads can have a huge impact on your physical and mental wellbeing.
When you’re stressed, tired or overworked, accidents and injuries can happen.

It’s important that if you’re required to take on additional tasks due to team shortages, you:

  • Take frequent breaks to rest and stretch
  • Use safety lifts of avoid back and neck injuries
  • Ask for help if the workloads become excessive.

If you injure yourself at work or become injured or ill because of work, you have the right to claim for workers’ compensation – including for psychological injuries.

The SDA is here to provide you with advice, support and guidance at any point throughout this process.