Canadian Consulting Engineer

Protecting Employees’ Health and Safety

Psychological health and safety does not have to include a separate budget nor does it need to take up a lot of your time. However, it does need to be part of everyday workplace interactions.

May 28, 2014   Canadian Consulting Engineer

Psychological health and safety does not have to include a separate budget nor does it need to take up a lot of your time. However, it does need to be part of everyday workplace interactions.

The National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, available from the CSA Group, provides a free framework that can help to guide you. The Standard was developed to help business owners cut through the hype of ‘”feel good” approaches and understand what actually impacts psychological health and safety in the workplace. Click here.

Research has been done to determine the factors which can contribute to psychological health and safety in the workplace. This research was used to inform the development of the standard as well as a resource for employers called Guarding Minds @ Work, click here.

You can consider which factors should be addressed in your workplace by using the Guarding Minds @ Work Organizational Review. The review is a series of worksheets that allows you to consider the benefits of each factor, information or data that can help you assess the current impact, and a series of questions that can help you reflect on your current situation and plan for improvement.

Following are some factors that can impact psychological health and safety in the workplace:

Psychological Support – is an environment supportive of employees’ psychological and mental health concerns, and responds appropriately.

Clear Leadership & Expectations – is effective leadership and support that helps employees know what they need to do, how their work contributes to the organization, and whether there are impending changes.

Involvement & Influence – is where employees are included in discussions about how their work is done and how important decisions are made.

Workload Management – is where tasks and responsibilities can be accomplished successfully within the time available.

Balance – is where there is recognition of the need for balance between the demands of work, family and personal life.

Psychological Protection – is where psychological safety is ensured and employees feel able to ask questions, seek feedback, report mistakes and problems, or propose a new idea without fearing negative consequences.

Many of these factors come down to the way we interact on a daily basis. They do not require a huge expenditure in terms of time or money, but they do require thoughtful consideration of how to improve those areas where negative impacts may be occurring. Pick any factor and engage your staff in making a series of small changes towards improving psychological health and safety in your workplace.

Mary Ann Baynton, MSW, RSW, is principal of Mary Ann Baynton & Associates consulting and program director for the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace. She is the author of Resolving Workplace Issues.

This article is provided by the Human Resources Professionals Association’s (HRPA). Its EZ HR small business HR service provides human resources information as well as employment practices liability insurance to protect your business from employment- or discrimination-related allegations against you or your firm. See


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