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Imagine working in a highly productive environment in which you feel safe, respected and valued; the work is challenging; the demands of the job are reasonable; you have work-life balance; and your employer supports your involvement in your work and interpersonal growth and development. This is what is known as a mentally healthy workplace.
What is mental health?
The World Health Organization defines mental health not merely as the absence of disease, but also as a feeling of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.
In the workplace, the traditional view of health and safety now includes a comprehensive approach that incorporates the total well-being and mental health of employees, also referred to as psychological health and safety. Psychological health and safety refers to the safeguarding of employees' psychological health, promotes employees' psychological (mental) well-being, and actively works to prevent harm due to negligent, reckless or intentional acts.
The most common psychological health problems in the workplace are anxiety and depression. Poor mental health in the workplace has far reaching negative impacts: hurting the individual, reducing employer profits, and costing the Canadian economy billions of dollars in losses each year.
What impacts employee mental health
There are several issues that can greatly affect employee mental health that organizations should consider in their efforts to create a mentally healthy workplace. The comprehensive workplace guide "Guarding Minds at Work" identified thirteen Psychosocial Risk Factors (PSRs). These PSRs are elements that can impact employees' psychological responses to work and work conditions, potentially causing psychological health problems. These problems ultimately affect the health of the organization, individual employees, and the financial bottom line. They also impact the way in which work is done (including interactions and relationships with managers, coworkers, and customers) and the context in which work occurs.
The Psychosocial Risk Factors are:
Tips & Tools
Do's and don'ts when cutting with a chain saw
Each year many people are injured while using chain saws. The hands, knees, feet and head are most vulnerable to being cut by the chain saw chain. However if you use a chain saw often, there are also other health risks such as hearing loss from the noise of the chain saw; damage to the hands from vibration; poisoning from chain saw exhaust gases if used in enclosed spaces; and the risk of fire from fuel spillage. Learn the do's and don'ts of cutting with a chain saw, and prevent injuries.
Before you start
Cross-Canada video contest focusing on workplace rights and responsibilities
Have a passion for workplace health and safety or worker rights? Are you a young creative type, just waiting for your big break? If so, the new, national social media video contest, "It's Your Job!" could be your chance.
Work is an important part of life, but no job is worth getting hurt over. Workplace injuries happen in a heartbeat but the resulting injuries can have a lasting impact on your ability to do the things you like to do. Further, everyone who works has rights under employment standards to be treated fairly in their workplace. Canada's ministers of labour launched the video contest as part of their commitment to directly engage youth and raise awareness about their workplace safety and rights.
The contest challenges secondary school students and those who are not in secondary school (but are at least 18 years old and less than 25), living in Canada, to use their creativity to develop an original video that can be used in social media to illustrate to younger workers the importance of working safely on the job, or about their rights to being paid fairly for the work they do.
Winners will be chosen from every region of Canada. You could win cash prizes for you and your school, and maybe even become a YouTube sensation. The national entries will be judged by a panel of celebrities that includes Alan Doyle from Great Big Sea and Marc Kielburger of Free the Children. The winning Canadian entries will be entered in an international video contest.
A selection of top videos will be posted on the "You Tube - It's Your Job" video contest page from Saturday May 4th to Sunday May 12th, 2013 at 11:59 p.m., local time, where they will be viewed and voted on by the public. The videos that receive the most votes in each category will each receive an additional prize of $1000.
You can submit your videos starting February 1, 2013 until the contest closes on April 5, 2013 at 11:59 p.m., local time.
For more information on the contest and prizes, please visit www.youtube.com/yourjobvotretravail or www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/labour/health_safety/contest/index.shtml.
Rules and regulations
Health and Safety To Go
This month's Health and Safety To Go! podcasts explore the impact, if any, that psychosocial factors have on musculoskeletal disorders and feature a timely encore presentation on healthy hygiene habits that help prevent the spread of germs.
Feature podcast: How Psychosocial Factors Affect Musculoskeletal Symptoms and Disorders
Dr. Birgitte Blatter, Business Line Manager of Healthy, Vital and Safe Work at TNO in the Netherlands explores the role workplace psychosocial factors play in the development of musculoskeletal symptoms and disorders. Dr. Blatter is also a featured presenter for CCOHS' Forum IV that will take place October 29th and 30th, 2012 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The podcast runs 12:05 minutes. Listen to the podcast now.
Encore Podcast: Help Prevent the Spread
CCOHS shares 9 healthy hygiene habits to help prevent the spread of germs (and to keep from catching someone else's) during the cough, cold and flu season.
The podcast runs 3:28 minutes. Listen to the podcast now.
CCOHS produces free monthly podcasts on a wide variety of topics designed to keep you current with information, tips, and insights into the health, safety, and well-being of working Canadians. You can download the audio segment to your computer or MP3 player and listen to it at your own convenience... or on the go!
Better yet, subscribe to the series on iTunes and don't miss a single episode.
CCOHS' Forum IV: Better Together has been in the works for almost two years, and now it is just weeks away. This two-day national health and safety event brings together subject experts, workers, employers, and government into one vibrant setting to share their knowledge and perspectives around total worker well-being. There's no event quite like it.
The Forum is a great opportunity for you to hear from leading experts such as Barbara Coloroso and Gary Namie; get insights into real world experiences with case studies from Trillium Healthcare and Donna Hardaker; and participate in workshops on key topics such as mental health, psychosocial work factors and musculoskeletal disorders, harassment and bullying, and integrated workplace health and safety.
As an added bonus, all Forum IV delegates are invited to attend a reception hosted by the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) on Monday, October 29th 2012 from 5-7pm. The two-hour event will provide a unique networking opportunity for Forum participants while gaining an insider's perspective of the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (to be released November 2012).
The voluntary Standard, championed by the MHCC, and developed by the Canadian Standards Association and the bureau normalisation du Quebec, is a guide that offers organizations a process for promoting and protecting psychological health and safety in the workplace. You will hear from a workplace expert who was involved in the development of the Standard and have the opportunity to ask questions. This is a great opportunity to learn how the Standard can assist you in promoting mental health and preventing psychological harm to all people in your workplace.
Clock is ticking
Only weeks away, the Forum is 85 per cent full, so register now to avoid disappointment. And you only have until October 5th to take advantage of the special Forum rate of $169 per night at the Marriott Harbourfront.
Don't miss the chance to be inspired, add your voice to the conversation, and help stimulate creative solutions.
Learn more about CCOHS Forum IV.
Tell us what you think.
We welcome your feedback and story ideas.
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The Health and Safety Report, a free monthly newsletter produced by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS), provides information, advice, and resources that help support a safe and healthy work environment and the total well being of workers.
© 2020, Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
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