Is your organization psychologically healthy and safe?
by Lisa Seppala, True North Implementation
If you’re an organization leader, by now you’ve likely heard the term ‘psychological health and safety’, but do you know what it means when a workplace is considered psychologically healthy and safe? If not, read on!
According to the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (CAN/CSA-Z1003-13/BNQ 9700-803/2013), available through the CSA Group, a psychologically healthy and safe workplace is “a workplace that promotes workers’ psychological well-being and actively works to prevent harm to worker psychological health including in negligent, reckless, or intentional ways.”
This voluntary national standard provides guidance for Canadian organizations on how to promote psychological health and safety and implement a psychological health and safety management system, much like an organization would implement safety and environmental management systems.
Why consider implementing a psychological health and safety management system?
Several studies link psychological health and safety, or lack of it, to key performance indicators such as productivity, absenteeism, employee turnover, conflict, litigation, job satisfaction, and something that I’ve always intuitively suspected, accidents and injuries. The more psychologically healthy and safe a workplace, the better an organization performs across these and many other metrics.
At the strategic level, a workplace that supports psychological health and safety also improves it’s financial bottom-line, it’s reputation, and its ability to demonstrate due diligence. This was revealed in the article “The Business Case for a Healthy Workplace”, (Joan Burton, Industrial Accident Prevention Association, 2008). Burton does a tremendous job of presenting the benefits of creating a healthy workplace as well as the costs of not doing so. Without doubt, the data significantly supports the case for implementation.
What resources are available to assess your organization’s level of psychological health and safety?
In addition to the scientific research, there are many resources available to help you assess your organization’s level of psychological health and safety and many practitioners who can help you with assessments and implementation.
Online resources at Guarding Minds at Work are free, extensive and include tools that can assist you in evaluating your organization across the workplace factors that can affect psychological health and safety. These 13 factors are defined in the National Standard and are summarized in the table below. From this list, I think you’ll start to see how your organization will fare in a review.
What are my thoughts and observations?
From my own deep dive into the standard, the Guarding Minds at Work website, and practical field experience, I see approaches, advice and tools that are scalable for organizations of all types, regardless of size and industry.
Implementing a psychological health and safety management system follows an approach like that used for implementing a safety management system. Of course, there are different elements to consider, but the more integrated these systems can be with the fabric of your organization, the easier it is to make them sustainable.
If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to reach out to me. Let’s chat about what could work for your organization. At the very least, I can help point you in the right direction!
For those interested in developing the skills needed to implement a psychological health and safety system, I recommend exploring the offerings at the School of Occupational Health & Safety at the University of Fredericton. It’s well worth the time and investment!