Week 1 Healthy Minds need Safe Workplaces
Psychological health differs from psychological safety. Psychological safety is important too, as it concerns the environmental risks and hazards in the workplace that can influence the individual’s mental health and wellbeing. Psychological safety is defined in the Standard as absence of harm and/or threat of harm to mental well-being that a worker might experience.
A healthy workplace is both psychologically healthy and safe. Understanding the psychosocial risks and hazards associated with mental injury, allows organizations to identify and remove barriers and create an environment that supports both health and productivity.
CHWM Week 1 provides an opportunity to identify those work-related hazards and risks that influence psychological health and safety in the workplace; ensuring a preventative approach to psychological harm or mental injury (i.e., from work-related stress or fatigue, or workplace harassment, including bullying and discrimination)
Here are a few sample activities to help your organization promote psychological health and safety in the workplace:
Town Hall Meetings
Kick off CHWM with a Town Hall Meeting to communicate your organization’s Healthy Workplace initiatives, explaining why a psychologically healthy and safe workplace is integral to workplace wellness. Download a free copy of the National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace at www.csa.ca/z1003/ for helpful information and resources.
Manage Mental Health Risks
Check the psychological health and safety status of your workplace. Consider conducting a workplace psychosocial risk assessment to identify factors that influence psychological health and safety in your workplace. Develop action plans with employees/teams based on addressing identified hazards and mitigating risks. Share with employees the factors that influence psychological health and safety in the workplace. Visit Guarding Minds @ Work Website http://www.guardingmindsatwork.ca for many free resources and tools to help you do this.
Reduce Mental Health Stigma
Build awareness within your team/organization on mental health in the workplace by sharing Working Through It – videos showcasing real stories of employees reclaiming mental well-being in the workplace. Visit Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace and learn how your organization can be better informed about the issues and opportunities for improving mental health and safety in the workplace. http://www.workplacestrategiesformentalhealth.com/display.asp?l1=17&l2=173&d=173
Employee/ Family Assistance Program (EFAP)
Build employee awareness and understanding of a psychologically healthy and safe workplace, by contacting your EAP or EFAP and leverage their services in disseminating educational material including articles and webinars on such topics as violence prevention, health promotion, and resilience, to name a few.
Help employees understand external factors that influence work-related stress (i.e. financial, eldercare, fatigue) and offer resources, tools, and tips to cope (Health Canada. “Best Advice on Stress Risk Management in the Workplace”.
Part One: http://www.mentalhealthworks.ca/sites/default/files/stress-part-1_e.pdf
Part Two: http://www.mentalhealthworks.ca/sites/default/files/stress-part-2_e.pdf)
Psychological and Occupational Safety Awareness Week
Help employees see the connection between addressing the physical environment by reducing work-related injury, illness, and disability, thereby alleviating the stress employees may feel in the workplace.
- Develop a Safety Check List - Build awareness of the psychological risks in your workplace by involving your colleagues to create a list of potential psychological risks and hazards in your organization, and keep expanding it as suggestions continue to be contributed. Provide incentives in recognition of the contributors.
- Conduct ergonomic assessments and make improvements to the work environment and how job tasks are conducted e.g., reducing steps.
- CPR/First Aid Course Help employees who want to learn CPR and first aid by offering a course onsite at your workplace. Related resource: Developing a First Aid Plan
Conduct a workplace safety audit list (e.g., the WSIB Work Well Audit in Ontario).
Build a culture of dignity and respect by building employee awareness of workplace Bullying, Harassment, and Discrimination.
- Workplace Bullying
- Invite your Manager to participate in a self-assessment questionnaire available through Bullying in the Workplace (Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, http://www.ccohs.ca/oshanswers/psychosocial/bullying.html).
- Distribute fliers to all employees to educate about bullying in the workplace, including reporting, investigation, and complaint resolution process (WorkSafe BC. “Resources – Bullying & Harassment in the Workplace” http://www2.worksafebc.com/Topics/Violence/Resources-BullyingAndHarassment.asp).
- Create and implement an anti-violence policy. Violence in the Workplace Prevention Guide, by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, will assist with a workplace-specific violence prevention program. It has easy to use safety tips, charts, diagrams, checklists, and illustrations. See http://www.ccohs.ca/products/publications/violence.html.
Disseminate and/or develop and implement anti-discrimination/harassment policies (Ontario Safety Association for Community & Healthcare (OSACH). “Bullying in the Workplace: A handbook for the workplace”. http://www.osach.ca/products/resrcdoc/rvioe528.pdf)
- Stress and Fatigue - Impact on health and safety in the workplace
Raise awareness on sleep hygiene
Implement poster campaign about:
- injuries related to sleep deprivation and lack of concentration
- tips on achieving a good sleep, eating habits, etc
- Implement poster campaign about:
- Raise awareness on how to identify environments susceptible to fatigue (i.e. dim lighting, high comfort) and the relationship to psychological health and well-being (WorkSafe Victoria. “Fatigue prevention in the workplace” http://www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/forms-and-publications/forms-and-publications/fatigue-prevention-in-the-workplace)
- Understand sleep and its disorders by viewing publications by the Canadian Sleep Society: http://www.canadiansleepsociety.ca/publisher/articleview/frmArticleID/341/
- Employees can assess their sleepiness with the Epworth Sleepiness Scale sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation: http://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-scale
- Assess the probability of fatigue in employees in your workplace (apply this practical test http://www.osh.dol.govt.nz/order/catalogue/pdf/stress.pdf)
- Teach shift-workers techniques to manage their sleep schedules.
- Encourage employee meal breaks and exercise breaks