Psychological Health and Safety: An Action Guide for Employers


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We have made significant progress in addressing workplace factors that impact the physical health and safety of employees; now we need to give similar attention to psychological health.
Psychological health concerns have a powerful and expanding impact on the safety, productivity and effectiveness of the workplace.

To provide employers with guidance that includes practical, accessible and actionable recommendations, the Mental Health Commission of Canada-Workforce Advisory Committee has requested the creation of a resource based on a review of the latest scientific evidence and professional practices. Psychological Health and Safety: An Action Guide for Employers is a free online resource that is available to all Canadian employers regardless of size, sector or location.

The guide provides logical implementation steps, with emphasis on clear, realistic actions that are consistent with current knowledge and are supportive of the national standard for psychological health and safety.

This presentation by the guide authors will include a brief description of the underlying research and framework, an overview of the contents, and recommendations for application and dissemination.

Organizations that implement some of the recommended actions will be encouraged to share their experiences in order to inspire and instruct others.

Published in: Health & Medicine, Business

Psychological Health and Safety: An Action Guide for Employers

  1. 1. Psychological Health and Safety:  An Action Guide for Employers Merv Gilbert, PhD   Dan Bilsker, PhD CCOHS Webinar| May 8, 2012
  2. 2. Outline for the session1. The Mental Health Commission of Canada2. Workplace psychological health and safety: what it is and  why it matters3. Overview of “Psychological Health and Safety: An Action  Guide for Employers”4. Implementing the Action Guide
  3. 3. This project was commissioned by The Mental  Commission of Canada, Workforce Advisory  Committee
  4. 4. New Psychological health and safety standard for  Canadian workplaces  Initiated by the Mental Health Commission of Canada with the  intent of improving work environment Employees will benefit from workplaces that promote and protect  their psychological health and safety Employers will benefit from enhanced cost effectiveness,  improved risk management, increased organizational  recruitment and retention as well as demonstrated corporate  social responsibility Publication of the Standard is anticipated in late summer 2012
  5. 5. Project: An Integrated Approach to Improving  Workplace Mental Healthcare in Canada CARMHA asked by the Workforce Advisory  Committee to identify best practices for  improving psychological health and safety  in the workplace  WWW.CARMHA.CA
  7. 7. Just as the OH&S movement raised  employers’ awareness and triggered improvement in the physical domain, PH&S  aims to increase awareness and trigger  action in the psychological domain
  8. 8. What is a psychologically healthy and safe  workplace?• Fosters psychological well‐being while enhancing  organizational performance• Offers opportunities for staff to develop skills & knowledge• Promotes respectful interactions between staff, customers  and the public• Supports staff experiencing psychological difficulties
  10. 10. The choice:• Do nothing: Outcome is increased costs,  decreased productivity/morale, loss of  skilled workforce• Act: Outcome is decreased costs, increased  productivity/morale, recruitment/retention  of skilled workers
  11. 11. Introducing: Psychological Health & Safety:  An Action Guide for Employers Available as an e‐book at no cost at:
  12. 12. The P6 Model
  13. 13. Commitment by organizational leadership to enhance  psychological health and safety through workplace  interventions Example: Build an action team
  14. 14. Determination of key psychological health indicators across the  organization, selection of actions, and specification of  objectives Example: Survey your employees
  15. 15. Actions taken to promote the general psychological health of  the workforce Example: Build employee resilience.
  16. 16. PREVENTION (Primary)Changes  in individual or organizational conditions that may  contribute to psychological health problems, thus reducing  the likelihood that problems may occur Example: Provide stress management training
  17. 17. PREVENTION (Secondary)Efforts to identify and address psychological health problems  when they are in a relatively mild state and early stage, so  that fast response will forestall more serious problems Example: Provide Manager Training
  18. 18. PREVENTION (Tertiary)Efforts to reduce the distress and dysfunction associated with  an identified mental disorder Example: Provided Coordinated Disability Management
  19. 19. PROCESSEvaluation results of actions taken to enhance psychological  health and safety Example: Measure Implementation
  20. 20. PERSISTENCESustainment of effective actions in a process of continuous  improvement Example: Support Organizational Champions
  21. 21. 24 employer actions to enhance and protect PH&S.Actions are: • Evidence‐consistent • Practical • Stand‐alone Includes stories, resources, references and topics of special interest  (e.g. PH&S for small business)
  22. 22. For Each Action…
  24. 24. 1. How will your organization respond to the  Standard?2. Which actions are most relevant and  feasible?3. Who needs to be involved? 4. What resources will be needed?5. How will you kick‐start action on PH&S? 
  25. 25. Key Takeaways  issues are  gical health ce  psycholoWorkpla , p revalent ly e  and costpervasiv f ective and   to take ef  sh ows how T he Guide on cti p ractical a e t the Guid Check ou a om mission.c nt alhealthc
  26. 26. Dr. Merv Gilbert  mervgilbert@gilbertacton.comDr. Dan Bilsker