Mental health in the workplace

The world’s first International Standard just published.

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Our working lives can have a significant impact on our psychological well-being and the current pandemic has shone a spotlight on just how great that impact can be. Recognizing that employers have a responsibility to protect both the physical and psychosocial health of their staff, the world’s first International Standard to address that has just been published.

ISO 45003, Occupational health and safety management – Psychological health and safety at work – Guidelines for managing psychosocial risks, gives guidance on managing psychological health and safety risks within an occupational health and safety management system. It addresses the many areas that can impact a worker’s psychological health, including ineffective communication, excessive pressure, poor leadership and organizational culture.

The standard covers aspects such as how to identify the conditions, circumstances and workplace demands that have the potential to impair the psychological health and well-being of workers; how to identify primary risk factors and assess them to determine what changes are required to improve the working environment; and how to identify and control work-related hazards and manage psychosocial risk within an occupational health and safety management system.

Norma McCormick, Project Leader of the ISO technical committee that developed the standard, said stressors such as uncertainty, fear, isolation and changing workloads have been exacerbated for many workers during this period, but the standard is not just about COVID-19.

“Every organization has occupational health and safety responsibilities, and the current pandemic has brought into sharp focus the important role that psychological health in the workplace plays,” she said.

“While many have felt powerless about the impact of recent events, there are many things that can be done to build the resilience of staff and promote a strong organizational culture. This standard brings together international best practice in this area and is relevant to companies of all types and sizes.”

ISO 45003 will also help users meet the requirements of ISO 45001, the world’s first International Standard for an occupational health and safety management system, which is the foundation of a resilient organization with a strong, healthy and happy workforce.

The standard was developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 283, Occupational health and safety management, whose secretariat is held by BSI, ISO’s member for the UK. It can be purchased from your national ISO member or the ISO Store

Learn more about ISO 45003 in our series of free webinars.

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