Workplace Psychosocial Hazard Analysis Made Simple- What You Need to Know

Workplace Psychosocial Hazard Analysis Made Simple- What You Need to Know

Mental health has become more widely known in the last decade. Additionally, workers have become more aware of how the workplace impacts their well-being in both a physical and mental way. For example in Canada, Bell launched 'Bell Let's Talk Day' in 2011, which has been felt across the nation. The event has since grown into an annual event that raises millions of dollars for mental health organizations. However, mental health remains a sensitive topic in many workplaces. While general awareness has increased, there is still a stigma, especially in the workplace.  

The subject of mental health affects everyone differently and in a variety of ways. For instance, one person might consider mental health issues to be a distraction or an annoyance, while others may see mental health struggles as a threat to a competent and effective workplace. Unfortunately, many employers do not know how to handle discussions about mental health, which leaves employees to sometimes cope with the fallout alone.

Establishing an open and safe workplace depends on openly addressing mental health struggles and understanding the various workplace hazards employees can face. Now more than ever, it is crucial for employers to integrate well-being at work into the overall health and safety program. In this article, we'll discuss how to conduct a mental health hazard assessment in the workplace. 

Identifying, assessing, and controlling psychosocial hazards

Employees need to be trained on how to report unhealthy mental health situations to their supervisors so that investigations can occur, if necessary, and the problem is corrected. It should be an ongoing process to monitor appropriately, control, and eliminate psychological hazards as best as feasibly possible. Refer to our recent blog “13 Factors That Employers Need To Know About Mental Health and Occupational Health and Safety Risks” where we discuss the 13 psychosocial risk factors and what employers must do for the workplace.

Brainstorm solutions, implement strategies, provide feedback, and address individual concerns  

No one blueprint exists for a mentally healthy workplace since every one of them is different: the people doing the work, the work that must be done, the leaders running the organization, the size of the organization, the external environment that influences society and the outside resources the company uses. It is crucial to find out the key needs and expectations of the workplace before designing your program or policy. The Canadian Centre For Occupational Health And Safety lists the following common elements to address in your organization's health and well-being program: 1. Employees express a need or suggestions for workplace health and wellness programs. 

1. Employees express a need or suggestions for workplace health and wellness programs. 

2. Improvements to the workplace environment itself. 

a) Supporting healthy living through: 

  • Healthy eating 
  • Active living 
  • Supporting non-smoking 
  • Work organization and stress

b) Work/Life Balance 

  • Time management 
  • Work/life balance 

c) Work Environment 

  • Providing facilities or supportive programs for active living, healthy eating, etc. 
  • Safe working environment 
  • Eliminating psychological risk factors 
  • Violence prevention policy (includes harassment and bullying) 
  • Fair hiring practices 
  • Availability of counselling when required

d) Management Practices 

  • Communication and awareness sessions on personal health related topics, etc. 
  • Training about stress management, time management, work/life balance, etc. 
  • Employee participation in the decisions that concern them  
  • Practice related to recognition and job satisfaction
  • Support for performance of tasks

Employers can improve mental health in many ways within their organization. Whether you are just beginning developing and implementing a psychological health and safety management system (PHSMS) or already have one implemented, improving workplace mental health can produce multiple benefits at any stage. Enhanced productivity, morale, employee satisfaction, staff retention, etc. In return, it will reduce medical leave claims, staff turnover, work injury, and absences.

Stream Dental HR can help you identify what needs to be done, prioritize the tasks, set realistic timelines and plan how to initiate the program. Employers, it is your duty to do a psychosocial hazard analysis and support your employees.