Canadian Standards Association’s Review of the Psychological Safety & Health in the Workplace

The CSA Standards for Psychological Safety and Health in the Workplace:

As of January 2012 the CSA standards for Psychological Safety and Health in the Workplace commenced a consultation process. As this CSA standard becomes finalized all workplaces in Canada will have a framework for the implementation of programs towards improving the mental health of employees. The reason for so much attention being directed to mental health stems from a number of sources;
1. the AODA Act for Ontario emphasizes not just physical disabilities being accommodated but mental and psychological as well
2. Statistics from the large insurers in Canada, benefits specialists, and human resources managers reveals an increase in the number of claims, increased psychotropic drug prescription use, and longer absences from work related to mental health impairments.
3. Higher courts of law in the Provinces and Federally are ruling compensation boards will no longer be able to prevent the acceptance and payment of claims related to mental health “injury” claims. There will no doubt be an influx of these types of claims impacting company’s experience ratings and administration costs over the next few years.


Other statistics important for all employers to become aware of include;

  • One in five people in Canada have some type of mental illness
  • 46% of Canadians think “mental illness” is used as an excuse for poor behaviour, addiction and personal failure
  • 1 in 4 Canadians are afraid to be near someone with a serious mental health condition
Definition:

There are over 250 mental illnesses defined in the DSM IV the Diagnostic manual used by Psychiatrists and Psychologists with the most commonly seen in the workplace being;

  • mood disorders such as depression and anxiety
  • personality disorders
  • dementia
  • addictions
  • attention deficit disorders
Accommodating Mental Health Impairments as per WSIB; Insurance; Human Rights and Accessibility

Accommodations for persons with mental illnesses will vary as much as the nature of the mental health impairment itself.  It is important therefore to consult with the experts at OPC’s Disability Management group when implementing accommodation and accessibility plans. An illustration of some of the accommodations for employees with reduced levels of concentration may include;

  • remove distractions such as noise and visual distractions
  • take regular breaks to avoid mental fatigue
  • break down tasks in smaller parts
  • alternate between static and active activities
  • Ensure sleep, nutrition, and cognitive health are maximized


For employees who have difficulty with conflict management in the workplace, accommodations can include;

  • conflict management training
  • practice interactions using cognitive behavioural tools
  • provide relaxation and confidence building skills with your IEP provider
  • gradual introduce the employee to team activities

Resources

CLV Reports- Psychological Illness, Mental Health and the Workplace; Canadian Trends and Return to Work Challenges Jane E. Sleeth Hon B.P.&H.E. (Kin), Hon BSc.P.T.
Carswell Pub 2012 ISBN;  978-0-7798-4897-3
Order thru Carswell.com
 
 
The Loss of Sadness; How Psychiatry Transformed Normal Sorrow into Depressive Disorder
Allan Horwitz, Jerome Wakefield
Oxford Press
ISBN 978-0-19-531304-8

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