National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety in Canadian Workplace Released

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A new and surprisingly complex Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Standard may be arriving at and impacting your workplace soon. A proposed Standard has been developed, setting out optimistic goals and processes for achieving “psychological health and safety” in the workplace. Policies, procedures, hazard identification, incident investigation and monitoring activities may be required, in addition to all of the existing steps being taken to develop and manage OHS systems. This article introduces and analyses the proposed Standard.

The CSA which develops standards for business, industry, government and consumers, released the draft Standard on November 1, 2011 for a period of public consultation which ended on January 6, 2012. The final Standard, which is expected to be published in early 2012, is intended to provide organizations with the necessary tools and guidance to achieve “measureable improvements in psychological health and safety” for Canadian employees and prescribes specific steps for employers to take to develop and maintain psychologically healthy and safe workplaces. As currently drafted, the steps prescribed and obligations imposed by the Standard are significantly broader than those currently imposed on employers under OHS and human rights legislation and the breadth of the Standard raises concerns about its viability for Canadian employers.

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