Evidence-based actions for psychological protection

These actions and responses can be implemented with a minimal investment of resources or cost to the organization.

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Description: In a work environment with adequate psychological protection, employees are free from bullying, harassment, stigma and discrimination. 

You can access our free workshop materials to engage your team in a discussion about what they perceive as their risk to psychological safety and how that risk could be reduced.

Create effective policy to protect psychological safety. 

Ensure all leaders and employees understand their role in protecting psychological safety at work. 

  • The assurance of psychological safety is more than just a policy – it involves an ongoing process of education, implementation and evaluation. 
  • Train employees and leaders on your organization’s policies and programs regarding: 
    • Harassment (verbal, physical, or sexual) at work
    • Discrimination at work
    • Trauma
    • Violence at work 
    • Supporting employees with personal or health issues
    • Accommodation
    • Conflict resolution 
    • Complaints or grievance 
  • Train managers or supervisors, human resources providers and union personnel on how to create a psychologically healthy and safe workplace. This is a workplace where employees feel safe to speak up about concerns related to their physical or psychological safety. Building trust for leaders provides practical information and strategies that can help with this. 
  • Refer to the Psychologically safe leader assessment for leadership strategies that relate to psychological health and safety.  
    • The assessment can be assigned to leaders by an administrator authorized by an organization, or used by individual leaders for their own personal and confidential development. 
  • Refer to the Psychologically safe interactions workshop for information on how our workplace behaviours may be interpreted as bullying, even when that wasn't our intention. 
    • The team activity, Choose your words helps individuals understand how their choice of words can make any conversation more difficult.  

Resolve any threats to psychological safety effectively. 

  • Provide safe opportunities for employees to identify and remedy psychological safety concerns. 
  • Provide internal or external support to employees who’ve experienced psychological distress. 
  • Some helpful process tips are provided in Violence prevention

Additional actions and resources  

  • Review Evidence for psychological health and safety for a literature review of studies demonstrating how factors that impact psychological health and safety also have a positive impact on business goals and objectives. 

Putting psychological protection on the agenda provides you with materials to support a team discussion on approaches to psychological protection as well as materials to support policy review and development.

Adapted from Guarding Minds at Work™

© Samra, J., Gilbert, M., Shain, M., Bilsker, D. 2009-2020, with amendments by Stuart, H. 2022.  All rights reserved. Website development and data storage by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS).

Guarding Minds at Work was commissioned by Canada Life and additional resources are supported by Workplace Strategies for Mental Health.

Contributors include.articlesDan BilskerDavid K. MacDonaldDr. Heather StuartDr. Joti SamraDr. Martin ShainMary Ann BayntonMerv GilbertPhilip PerczakSarah JennerSusan JakobsonWorkplace Safety and Prevention ServicesWorkplace Strategies team 2007-2021Workplace Strategies team 2022 to present

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