Mental health issues will cost organizations an estimated $198 billion in lost productivity over the next 30 years, predicts the Mental Health Commission of Canada.
But some organizations are already taking a leadership role in addressing mental health.
That’s why Canadian Occupational Safety and Canadian HR Reporter launched a new psychological safety category in the prestigious Canada’s Safest Employers health and safety awards. There’s still time to nominate your organization — the deadline for applications is June 24. (See below for details.)
Psychological safety is an important aspect of workplace health and safety in every organization — no matter how their approaches may differ or what type of work they do, said Mary Ann Baynton, program director at the Great West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace — the Psychological Safety sponsor for Canada’s Safest Employers.
“There is no cookie-cutter approach to this. Psychological safety for police officers will be very different than psychological safety for a ballet school. And yet, they both want to protect the people that are in that work environment,” she said.
The implementation of the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety further emphasized the importance of psychological safety in the workplace, said Baynton.
“There are seven areas of law that already hold employers responsible for protecting employees from psychological injury. We needed a framework that was clear and flexible that would allow us to understand how to do this — how do we provide a safe workplace?” she said.
“The standard, which itself is available for free download, really is a comprehensive framework that still gives every organization the ability to decide what’s going to work in their unique situation.”
Organizations that have shown leadership in the area of mental health and psychological safety should have those efforts recognized, said Baynton.
“The efforts that many have put in over the years, long before the Standard was even thought of, should be recognized. There have been many employers who have done a lot to support the well-being of their employees, and to protect them from psychological harm. And those organizations were pioneers, if you will, and they should be recognized for the efforts they’ve made,” she said.
“Many others will follow over the years, because this framework for the Standard exists. But the organizations that are going to apply this year will show that there are (already) many progressive employers.”
Nominate your organization
To nominate your organization or for more information, please visit www.safestemployers.com.
• You have been an employer in Canada for the last five years or longer.
• You have more than 20 employees.
• You are willing to administer an employee psychological safety perception survey provided by the Canada’s Safest Employers organizing committee to your workforce, should you be shortlisted.
• In the last five years, none of your workers suffered any work-related injuries or fatalities that resulted in prosecution under occupational health and safety, workers’ compensation and/or the Criminal Code legislation.
• In the last five years, your company has not been convicted under occupational health and safety, workers’ compensation and/or the Criminal Code legislation.
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