Recognizing Psychological Health and Safety Hazards in the Workplace

Recognizing Psychological Health and Safety Hazards in the Workplace

Every employer should consider the importance of fostering a psychologically healthy and safe workplace for their employees. Recognizing psychological health and safety hazards enables employers to effectively support employees who might be facing unique challenges and struggles each day. Responding to employees needs in a timely manner can lead to a happier, healthier, and more productive workplace for everyone – saving businesses time and money.

According to the CSA Standard Z1003-13 (R2018), a psychologically healthy and safe workplace is one that “promotes workers psychological well-being and actively works to prevent harm to worker psychological health including in negligent, reckless, or intentional ways.” Mental health, on the other hand, is defined as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” When an observational and objective inspection for hazards in the workplace is conducted with these two definitions in mind, the opportunity to address complex workplace problems with simple solutions becomes possible.

Note: Also identified and listed in the Z1003 are thirteen organizational factors which affect the health of the employees and the business’s overall success. To learn more about these factors, click the link below:

https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/psychosocial/mentalhealth_risk.html

Examples of Psychological Hazards

  • Pace of work
  • Fatigue
  • Conflicting demands
  • Hours of work
  • Work environment
  • Working in conflict with others
  • Working in social isolation
  • Working alone
  • Poor communication
  • Relating to management, policies, organization of work, etc.

Examples of Poor Mental Health

  • Being stressed or overwhelmed – could be caused by work, relationships, school, finances, etc.
  • Feeling sad over a loss
  • Feeling anxious due to an obligation such as a test, important meeting, or event
  • Feelings of being unfulfilled due to a lack of self-care
  • Experiencing compassion fatigue or burnout

What can you do as an Employer?

  • Ensure that you have audited your workplace for psychological risk factors
  • Consider psychological health when planning workplace spaces, supports and programs
  • Train your managers on ways to support employee mental health
  • Provide employees with training and support for mental health resiliency
  • As a leader in your workplace, model healthy workplace behaviours for mental health

How can we Take Care of Our Mental Health?

  • Practice gratitude – focus on the things in your life that you are grateful for
  • Practice mindfulness – try grounding techniques and being present in the moment
  • Take time for things that matter to you – hobbies, reading, getting out in nature, etc.
  • Engage in social interactions – laughing with friends and spending time with loved ones
  • Participate in physical resiliency activities such as exercise, sports, or going for walks
  • Ask for help and support from your health care provider, EAP or workplace supports

How can Gowan Consulting Help?

  1. Gowan Consulting has many resources for assisting with managing mental health in the workplace. We’re in a new era of inspiring positive change surrounding mental health in the workplace, and we want to talk about it, understand it, and be open about it!
  2. Gowan Consulting can assist with auditing for risks and implementing the psychological health and safety in the workplace standards.
  3. Our Occupational Therapists can provide training to your managers on supporting mental health in the workplace and provide training for employees on mental health resiliency.

For more on all we have to offer, contact us! We want to help make the difference in your healthy business!

Works cited:

Mental Health – Recognizing Psychological Health and Safety Hazards, https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/psychosocial/mentalhealth_checklist_phs.html

Mental Health – Psychosocial Risk Factors in the Workplace,  https://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/psychosocial/mentalhealth_risk.html

Psychosocial Work Conditions and Mental Health: Examining Differences Across Mental Illness and Well-Being Outcomes, Jonathan K Fan, Cameron Mustard, Peter M Smith https://academic.oup.com/annweh/article-abstract/63/5/546/5487669?redirectedFrom=fulltext

CSA National Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace Standards https://www.csagroup.org/documents/codes-and-standards/publications/CAN_CSA-Z1003-13_BNQ_9700-803_2013_EN.pdf

Annals of Work Exposures and Health, Volume 63, Issue 5, June 2019, Pages 546–559, https://doi.org/10.1093/annweh/wxz028

Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Occupational Hygiene Society

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