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Leep, Tescher, Helfman and Zanze

Inadequate staffing can lead to serious problems in workplaces

Whether it’s because someone is off work due to illness or because of a downturn in the economy, having fewer people on the job to help with the work that needs to be done can make it more likely for you and others to be at risk of injuring yourselves. Understaffing is a significant problem in any industry, because not having enough people to work means that others may try to compensate and perform jobs without the support that they need.

Inadequate staffing can be a major liability for employers when it takes place over a long course of time. For example, the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics reported that nurses were more likely to have higher stress levels and a decreased ability to do their jobs when they didn’t have enough staff members on the job.

Stress and health issues related to understaffing can make the problem worse as workers start calling off or getting hurt on the job. For example, if there are too few nurses in a hospital but a patient needs to be transferred, one or two people may try to do the job of three or four nurses. This increases the likelihood of a staff member getting hurt. 

Higher stress is also likely to create higher levels of turnover, which is bad for most businesses. Employee fatigue and disengagement drops productivity and can lead to a higher risk of serious injuries taking place. If you work somewhere without adequate staffing, you could be at risk of injury. If you do get hurt, you may be able to seek workers’ compensation to cover your injuries and your financial losses.