Mental health and wellbeing in ISO 45001 

The benefits of considering the health and safety of your workplace go far beyond merely complying with the law. Aside from attracting, motivating, and retaining staff, there are knock-on benefits for your organization’s productivity, profitability, resilience and customer loyalty over time too. It can also boost your reputation as an ethical organisation, fitting in well with social corporate responsibility policies.

The relatively new, internationally recognized, ISO 45001:2018 – Occupational health and safety management systems certification standard is a way of managing risks and creating better working conditions. In many industries having it is a requirement to operate, especially in industries where risks are already well known. However the importance of health and safety is relevant to all workplaces, especially when risks are not as readily identifiable.

Mental health and ISO 45001

When people think of occupational health and safety, traditionally they thought of physical protection such as hard hats. However mental health and wellbeing in the workplace is becoming more widely recognized as an area vital to employee welfare

Mental health initiatives should be an important part of the processes that you include in your management system. Many of the requirements of ISO 45001 include areas where mental health can play a key part in implementation. Some of these clauses include:

Needs of workers and interested parties (clause 4.2). As part of the process of implementing a management system, it is important to identify the needs of workers and other interested parties. At this stage, you would identify mental health and include the improvement throughout the organization as an overall goal of the system.

Hazard identification (clause 6.1.2.1). Is there a history of stress? Is it a fast paced or challenging environment or industry? Is staff turnover high which is sometimes an indicator of stress? If mental health and well being is one of the key needs of your co-workers, then how you will address these can be included in the hazard assessment.

Occupational health and safety objectives and plans (clause 6.2). If you select mental health as a key performance target, then it will form part of the overall objectives which will feed into the plan.  The clause requires you to make an action plan against each mental health goal including measurable targets/resources/timings/review process.

Eliminating hazards and occupational health and safety risks (clause 8.1.2). Where you have identified mental health hazards and risks within your organization, you will want to put in some controls to eliminate the hazards or reduce its impact on colleagues.

Management of change (clause 8.1.3). This clause looks at whether you have a change management process that minimizes the impact on occupational health and safety. This is good for the mental health of colleagues who will be positively affected by a good change process.

When implementing a good occupational health and safety management system, you will not only improve performance and reduce work lost hours but also help improve colleague satisfaction. Happy employees are a huge benefit to an organization as they encourage happy customers.

If you’d like to know more about ISO 45001, BM TRADA experts will be happy to guide you through the certification process.
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