We have entered spooky season and the month of lots of candy and chocolate! Here is your reminder to check in on your loved ones’ mental health as we have World Mental Health Day every October. World Mental Health Day is recognized in Alberta and across the world each year on October 10th. It’s necessary to acknowledge and bring awareness of the importance of mental health and the negative effects of mental illness.
What is Mental Health?
Mental/psychological health is a state of well-being in which every individual realizes their own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to contribute to their community.
Psychological and psychosocial hazards are just as dangerous as physical hazards, as mental health issues at work also have serious effects on a workers’ health and safety.
• Psychological safety in the workplace is the absence of harm and/or threat of harm to mental well-being that a worker might experience.
• Psychosocial hazards are elements of the work environment management practices or organizational practices that pose a risk to mental health and wellbeing.
From 2016-2020 Alberta’s WCB claims for mental disease increased. WCB claims in this category included post-traumatic stress, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. All worksite parties have a role in creating and maintaining a psychologically healthy and safe workplace. Psychosocial hazards in the workplace should be addressed and included in hazard assessments, just like physical hazards.
What are some Examples Psychosocial Hazards in the Workplace?
• Exposure to harassment, violence, or traumatic events.
• Role ambiguity.
• Increased job demands, unequal distribution of work.
• Unclear expectations, disrespectful work environment.
What are the Benefits of Addressing Psychosocial Hazards in the Workplace?
• Increased productivity.
• Workers are more likely to be physically safe when they are mentally safe.
• Reduced sick leave.
• Increase in morale and job satisfaction.
• Decrease in turnover, interpersonal conflict, and WCB claims.
• Reduced legal risk.
Addressing psychological health and safety can help employers ensure that they are complying with the OHS laws. After doing a hazard assessment to identify psychosocial hazards that could affect a workers’ health and safety, make sure they are either being eliminated or controlled. All personnel must be aware of the potential for psychosocial hazards and continually strive to control them and improve the work culture. Psychologically safe workplaces have a number of health, legal, and financial benefits for all work site parties. Ultimately, we want to see everyone go home safe and to their families at the end of the day!