13 Factors That Employers Need To Know About Mental Health and Occupational Health & Safety Risks

13 Factors That Employers Need To Know About Mental Health and Occupational Health & Safety Risks

The workplace can have a profound effect on both our physical and psychological health. To ensure the health and safety of employees, employers must adopt an occupational health and safety program that emphasizes employee physical health and psychological well-being. All workplaces, including dental clinics, have employees that are at risk for developing mental health disorders and illnesses.

Mental health problems and illnesses can lead to higher levels of absenteeism, presenteeism, and turnover. The Mental Health Commissions of Canada reports that 30% of short and long-term disability claims in Canada are attributed to mental health, costing the Canadian economy over $50 billion annually. In any given week, half a million Canadians miss work because of mental health-related issues. Employers must be a part of the solution and take action to minimize the risk of employees developing mental health issues within the workplace.

Canada Occupational Health and Safety Regulations mandate that all employers take reasonable actions to create and maintain psychologically healthy and safe workplaces. In addition, they require employers to identify specific hazards in the workplace through the use of a "Hazard Prevention Program" (HPP) which includes psychosocial hazards among other hazards.

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety recommends examining the following 13 psychosocial risk factors. Neglecting these factors can result in employees that are stressed, demoralized, depressed, anxious, and burned out. Therefore, for an organization to cultivate a mentally healthy workplace, it is vital to consider these factors.

1.  Psychological Support

2.  Organizational Culture

3.  Clear Leadership & Expectations

4.  Civility & Respect

5.  Psychological Competencies & Requirements

6.  Growth & Development

7.  Recognition & Reward

8.  Involvement & Influence

9.  Workload Management

10.  Engagement

11.  Balance

12.  Psychological Protection

13.  Protection of Physical Safety

The steps needed to contribute to a psychologically safe work environment starts with developing and implementing a psychological health and safety management system (PHSMS).  Research has shown that organizations implementing psychological health and safety strategies perform better in all key performance categories.

What employers can do to help:

1.  Support employee participation and decision-making

2.  Define employees' duties and responsibilities

3.  Promote work-life balance

4.  Encourage and model respectful behaviours

5.  Manage workloads

6.  Provide training and learning opportunities

7.  Have conflict resolution practices in place

8.  Recognize employees' contributions effectively

Even though we are individually responsible for our well-being, our workplaces play a significant role in promoting our physical and psychological wellness. However, managing mental health issues within the dental clinic can be complex and overwhelming. The team at Stream Dental HR assists all organizations in establishing, implementing, and managing Occupational Safety and Health Standards for all employees and employers to be compliant. We are here to help! Don’t wait before it’s too late.

Contact us for more information.