Implementation for psychological health and safety

Learn how to implement psychological health and safety initiatives in your workplace. These ideas and resources can help the process go smoothly and successfully.

The National Standard on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace states, “The key to successful and sustainable implementation of this Standard is the involvement of those affected by the changes. Engagement of workers in the development and planning stages must be carried over into the implementation stage to ensure that the changes are communicated effectively and that the process of implementation does not cause undue stress or harm. If done well, the process of implementation can enhance psychological health and safety by increasing a sense of belonging, building positive relationships, and securing commitment to the system.” 

Implementing the standard looks at the broader perspective from concept to continual review. In this section, we specifically cover the implementation phase.

Beginning a dialogue in the workplace about psychological health and safety is the best place to start. You can then embed psychological health and safety into your organization's policies, processes, and decision-making.

Begin a dialogue

  • Raise awareness of how everyone can contribute to positive change by talking about psychological health and safety in the workplace.
  • Keep employee discussions focused on the workplace rather than on individual health issues.
  • Understand that you don't need to be an expert in the field of mental health to discuss and develop psychologically healthy and safe workplace solutions.
  • Consider the importance of communication and facilitation skills for leading discussions. Check out Facilitation tips for leaders for more help.

Embed in policies and processes

  • Whenever policies or processes are reviewed, ensure they reflect the organization's commitment to a psychologically healthy and safe workplace.
  • Add the question, "How might this impact psychological health and safety?" to all business discussions about new or revised policies.
  • Develop guiding principles that can be applied to all future decisions and discussions. 
  • See Psychological health and safety policy recommendations for specific examples of how to embed policies throughout the organization's departments and the employment lifecycle (recruiting, orientation, performance management, etc.).

Leverage free resources

The Standard has identified organizational factors known to impact the psychological health and safety of employees.

You can use the free slide presentations, videos and facilitator's guides found in On the agenda workshop series to discuss any of these factors and develop an action plan with your team.

Evidence-based actions for psychological health and safety allow you to choose actions based on the area you wish to improve. Each topic is one of the psychosocial factors identified in the National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace and Guarding Minds at Work. These actions and responses can be implemented with a minimal investment of resources or cost to the organization.

Questions to ask

  • Can you articulate what psychological health and safety (PHS) means in your organization?
  • Have you identified organizational champions and sponsors and ensured they have adequate time and resources available?
  • Have you secured senior leadership commitment?
  • Have you considered confidentiality, diversity, and stakeholder participation?
  • Have you developed and communicated an organizational policy statement on psychological health and safety?
  • Have you established your data collection process?
  • Have you assessed the strengths and weaknesses of your existing PHS strategy? Have you assessed the organizational policies, processes, and practices that are already protecting and promoting good psychological health?
    • You could use an internal audit for this purpose
  • Have you implemented a risk mitigation process including hazard identification, risk assessment and preventive and protective measures?
  • Have you considered some or all of the workplace factors in your risk mitigation process?
  • Have you considered confidentiality, diversity, and stakeholder participation?
  • Have you considered establishing a PHS in the workplace committee?
  • Have you developed procedures and processes for the above items?
  • Have you established and communicated your vision for your psychological health and safety management system (PHSMS)?
  • Have you established your objectives and targets including timelines, roles, responsibilities, and resource requirements?
  • Have you established a process to implement preventive and protective measures?
  • Have you identified your training requirements and established your training plan?
  • Have you developed your communications plan?
  • Have you considered confidentiality, diversity, stakeholder participation and leadership commitment as part of your PHSMS strategy?
  • Have you developed procedures and processes for implementation governance, management of change, critical event preparedness, and external parties?
  • Have you established a corrective and preventive action process?
  • Have you established an incident investigation and reporting process?
  • Do you have a mechanism for carrying out routine performance monitoring on your PHSMS?
  • Do you have a process to assess conformance with the requirements of the National Standard?
  • Do you have a management review process for your PHSMS?

From Assembling the Pieces with permission of CSA Group.

Assembling the pieces – an implementation guide to the national standard for psychological health and safety in the workplace is available as a free download. The guide, created by the Mental Health Commission of Canada in partnership with the CSA Group and with the support of Workplace Strategies for Mental Health, is one approach to implementation of the National Standard.