Workers Compensation Board of Prince Edward Island
Healthy Workplaces
 MAIN > PSYCHOLOGICAL SAFETY

Psychological Health and Safety

The World Health Organization defines positive mental health as "a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community. In the workplace there can be no health without mental health."

Psychological health and safety (PHS) is embedded in the way people interact with one another on a daily basis, it is part of the way working conditions and management practices are structured. The Canadian Mental Health Commission has reported that, in any given year, one in five people in Canada will experience a mental health problem or illness, with a cost to the economy well in excess of 50 billion dollars.


Employers

Employers have a responsibility to protect the physical and pyschological health and safety of workers at their workplace. A psychologically healthy and safe workplace will also help keep workers safe, engaged and productive. Addressing psychological health and safety is critically important.

There are small day-to-day actions that can be implemented easily. Employers should:

  • Consider psychological health and safety at every stage of the employment life cycle (ie. Consider the skills needed for a position when hiring)
  • Provide training and resources about psychological health issues, including raising awareness about mental health
  • Supportively address performance concerns
  • Thoughtfully discuss absence if needed, facilitate early return-to-work and maintain contact during mental health-related absences

Identify areas for improvement in your workplace:

  • A psychologically safe leader is one that prevents psychological harm, promotes psychological health of workers and addresses problems related to psychological health and safety. Register for a free account and take the psychologically safe leadership assessment to determine an action plan for continual improvement

  • Guarding Minds at Work provides assessment tools, including an organizational review process for leadership and an online worker survey to help identify areas for improvement for your organization.

Additional Resources:

  • Improving your organizational culture can help promote an open environment for positive communication, cohesion and trust. Review this Organizational Culture video from WorkSafe Saskatchewan with the leaders in your organization.


Workers

Work can contribute positively to our mental health by providing us with a sense of purpose and accomplishment. Work provides a paycheck, which helps us live the life we want to live and helps us achieve other important things. Another positive part of work is relationships. Interacting, contributing, connecting, networking, and supporting others is good for our mental health.

Identify areas for improvements:

  • Download the StressAssess App to measure workplace stress and get ideas on how to improve workplace psychosocial conditions.
  • Understand the 13 psychological workplace factors and what workers can do to help themselves and others in the workplace by registering for free online training in psychological health and safety by CCOHS.


Psychologically Healthy and Safe Work Environments

The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard) is a set of voluntary guidelines, tools to guide organizations in promoting mental health and preventing psychological harm at work. The Standard provides a comprehensive framework to help organizations with their current and future efforts in a way that provide the best return on investment.

Adopting the Standard can help organizations with:

  • Productivity
  • Financial Performance
  • Risk Management
  • Organizational Recruitment
  • Worker Retention

The Standard outlines 13 workplace factors that can impact the psychological health and safety of a workplace. Many of these factors, including Civility and Respect and Psychological Protection, can be implemented with minimal effort and expense.


Civility and Respect

A psychologically healthy workplace is one that promotes civility and respect. It is good practice that employers promote a workplace where workers are respectful and considerate in their interactions with one another, as well as with customers, clients and the public. Additionally, the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires every employer in PEI to establish a policy outlining the measures to prevent and investigate occurrences of workplace harassment.

Civility and respect are present in workplaces when::

  • Workers respect the dignity of others
  • All interactions among staff and between staff and customers are civil, respectful and considerate

Resources:
  • Post and share this Civility and Respect Infographic (CCOHS) in your workplace to promote respectful behaviours and everyday acts that can help workers feel safe, comfortable and valued at work.
  • View this Civility and Respect video (WorkSafe Saskatchewan) at your workplace to promote and reinforce respecful behaviours and actions.
  • Learn how to facilitate a workplace discussion to address and improve civility and respect in the workplace.

Psychological Protection

A work environment where worker's psychological safety is ensured is one where workers feel empowered, ask questions, seek feedback, report mistakes and problems, or propose a new idea without fearing negative consequences to themselves, their job, or their career. A psychologically safe and healthy workplace actively promotes emotional well-being among workers while taking all reasonable steps to minimize threats to worker mental health. A lack of psychological protection can have a significant impact on worker well-being.

A psychologically safe workplace is one that:

  • Is committed to minimizing unnecessary stress at work
  • Has supervisory support of workers emotional well-being
  • Makes efforts to prevent harm to workers from harassment, bullying, discrimination, violence or stigma and deals effectively with situations where those types of harm arise

Additional Resources:

Many of the elements of a healthy workplace and the resources that promote a psychologically healthy and safe work environment are considered best practice and make good business sense.

With respect to workplace harassment, employers must comply with the regulations governing this area, including knowing the responsibilities of workers and the employer, and developing a workplace harassment policy that includes a reporting and investigation processes.


Resources


Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, CSA Group      Psychological Health & Safety in the Workplace Prevention Update, WCB PEI      Guide to Workplace Harassment Regulations, WCB PEI      Workplace Harassment FAQ, WCB PEI      Civility and Respect Infographic, CCOHS
Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, CSA Group
    
Psychological Health & Safety in the Workplace Prevention Update, WCB PEI
    
Guide to Workplace Harassment Regulations, WCB PEI
    
Workplace Harassment FAQ, WCB PEI
    
Civility and Respect
Infographic, CCOHS

Videos


Organizational Culture, WorkSafe SK      Civility and Respect, WorkSafe SK      Psychological Protection, WorkSafe SK
Organizational Culture,
WorkSafe SK
    
Civility and Respect, WorkSafe
SK
    
Psychological Protection,
WorkSafe SK