Frameworks are important in health and safety; they help to give line managers the process to follow for helping keep employees safe in the workplace. If you are at all familiar with the ‘safety’ side of health and safety you are familiar with the comprehensive processes that are used to reduce the chances of incidents in the workplace.
On the health side, however, there is a worrying lack of guidance and support for EHS managers who want to keep individuals safe from an occupational health perspective.
Whilst reactive policies like health and safety first aiders and well-being drives have attempted to help workers out who are struggling, it is clear that a more holistic approach and joined up approach is needed to increase the mental health and well-being for all those in the workplace.
As Richard Jones discussed when speaking to IOSH magazine, it is important that ‘psychosocial risks are managed in a systematic manner, consistent with other occupational health and safety risks’.
ISO 45003 is the new standard being introduced to try and provide managers with the information and procedure to keep workers safe from a psychological health and safety perspective. The standard has just closed on the comment stage of its development.
The full name of the new standard is: Occupational health and safety management – Psychological health and safety at work: managing psychosocial risks – guidelines. It aims to develop the focus on occupational health outlined in ISO 45001.
What are the key guiding principles ISO 45003 will provide?
The new standard builds upon the good work laid out in ISO 45001 and looks to focus on the mental and psychological protection of workers. SOme of the key areas the standard will look at include:
- The management of circumstances and work demand that have the ability to damage psychological health and wellbeing in workers
- Guidance on identifying some of the primary risk factors to psychological health and what improvements can be made to the environment
- The introduction of control measures to manage hazards and psychosocial risks that are associated with the workplace
The pandemic has increased the need for better mental health guidance
For many, the introduction of the standard is long overdue. Stress and mental health-related issues have risen in recent years and they have accelerated as the world tries to deal with the global pandemic and the impact it can have on working lives.
With over half of workers unable to access or unaware of mental health support in the workplace it is clear that new guidance is needed in the profession to try and reduce the risks for workers and keep all those in an organisation safe.
If you want a better understanding of what ISO 45003 intends to do and why it is needed our exclusive interview from the BSI Group offers insight on what the new standard will try to achieve and how organisations can make sure they are following it correctly.