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Good Employee Mental Health is an Issue All Employers Should Get Behind

How the ISO 45001 OH&S Standards can promote positive employee mental health.

Employers are often faced with the question about how to make their business more productive. This frequently means implementing strong occupational health and safety standards across the worksite, as a safe, secure work environment has a high chance of also being a productive one. However, ensuring that a workplace is safe from hazards and other potential physical dangers is only half the battle, as the emotional and mental wellbeing of employees also needs to be addressed. In these uncertain times, many employees are at risk of developing stress, anxiety, and other issues that impact their mental wellbeing at the workplace, due to the insecure work environment of 2020. Employers that demonstrate their commitment to promoting good employee mental health, through the implementation of supportive workplace strategies and procedures, are the ones that stand the best chance of remaining competitive, and a leader in their industry, during this difficult time.

Safe Work Australia, the Government statutory agency dedicated to improving work health and safety standards across all Australian worksites, claims that more than 92% of mental conditions related to the workplace are incurred through preventable factors, such as undue work pressure and burnout, discrimination, bullying, and other mental stress factors stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, including increased feelings of stress, anxiety, and isolation. Precisely because there are so many factors that may negatively impact the mental health of staff, which could effect their ability to perform their work role to the best of their ability, employers have a responsibility to ensure that their business is taking adequate steps to promote a mentally healthy, positive, work environment, which has adequate mental support services for those in need.

Having a workplace that conforms to both physical and mental health and safety requirements brings many benefits to business’, which extends beyond complying with local, state, and national laws, rules, and regulations regarding appropriate occupational health and safety practices. It is also conducive to a positive, productive, and profitable work environment, as staff that feel appreciated, valued, and that their mental needs are being addressed and met, are more likely to want to work with the business, stay working with the business over a period of time, and perform their role to the best of their ability. Further, business’ that are seen to promote and uphold positive, productive, safe working environments have a strong chance of attracting customers and clients, as people want to deal with companies that they know are fulfilling their social, moral, and legal health and safety requirements.

The International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 45001:2018 OH&S Standards are an internationally certified, verified as successful, set of work health and safety standards and protocols, which  provide business’ with tried and tested occupational health and safety strategies for developing a safe, supportive, and secure, workplace. The standards address the needs of both employers and employees through a holistic approach, in which their physical and mental health needs are adequately catered for. Some of the ways the standards go about achieving this goal, include methods such as:

  • Specifically addressing the requirements of workers, and other vested parties. The standards work with your business to ensure it develops an appropriate OH&S management system, which identifies the specific needs of all staff, and other relevant people. This allows your organisation to employ a hands-on approach to promoting positive mental health, by specifically conferring with staff about what mental health concerns related to the workplace they have, and the ways in which they might be addressed. If it comes out that there is a significant concern that the business needs to address, the organisation will then have the opportunity to develop adequate OH&S procedures that cater to these needs. This ensures that staff feel listened to, supported, and that their needs are being met.
  • The identification of potential mental health concerns unique to your business, and then addressing them in an adequate, compliant, manner. For example, employees that work in a high pressure, open floor factory may incur stress over worrying about incurring a physical workplace injury. By identifying these potential hazards, and taking clear steps to mitigate them, staff can see the evidence of what your business is doing to ensure both their physical and mental wellbeing. This leads to a productive work environment, as staff that feel safe and supported at work can devote their attention to their work duties, rather than stressing about other factors.
  • The utilisation of a gap analysis approach to identify what your business is currently doing to promote a positive, mentally healthy, work environment, which is then compared to the guidelines within the standards, to ascertain what additional steps the organisation could take to promote a positive work environment. This then allows the business to develop a clear, systematic plan for moving from where they currently are, to where they need to get to. This methodical procedure allows the business to set firm objectives and guidelines about where they need to get to, and how to get there, with identifiable targets in place that are worked towards. This is a more effective approach than simply having a vague idea about how to promote positive mental health within the workplace, as without a clear action plan for getting from point A to B, a company will have no clear direction about how to actually achieve their goals.

The best workplaces are positive, productive, and profitable, and these standards can get yours there

By developing a clear management system that addresses staff mental health needs, your business is demonstrating a commitment to people. It is showing employees that they are not ‘just a number’, but rather, they are part of a supportive team, and that while working for your business they can expect to be in safe, caring environment, and that there are support networks in place, should they need it. This kind of positive atmosphere is exactly the kind of workplace that employees want to work and thrive in, and the ISO 45001 OH&S standards can help your business get there. By providing you with an internationally certified OH&S management system, your company will be able to create the kind of workplace that people want to be at, and that is a clear recipe for success.

To find out more about how these OH&S Standards could be tailored to the specific requirements of your operations then please give Anitech’s safety consultant a call today on 1300 802 163. By giving them a rundown of your business, including its size, scope, and specific requirements, they will be able to explain to you how these standards could be applied to your operations, to achieve OH&S legal and industry compliance, strengthen its support networks, and improve employee morale. What could be more positive than that?

Please click here to find out more about how these OH&S Standards can help those in need.

James Briggs

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