Our working lives can have a profound effect on our mental health, and the current epidemic has focused on the extent of that impact. Recognizing that employers are responsible for protecting the physical and mental health of their employees, the first international standard, ISO 45003, has just been published.
ISO 45003, Occupational Safety and Health Management – Occupational Mental Health and Safety provides guidelines for the management of psychological and social hazards and guidelines for the management of occupational safety and health in the Occupational Safety and Health Management System. This section addresses many of the factors that can affect an employee’s psychological health, including poor communication, excessive stress, poor leadership, and organizational culture.
ISO 45003 includes aspects such as how to identify situations that have the potential to harm the psychological health and well-being of employees.
“Stressors such as uncertainty, fear, isolation and workload change have intensified for many employees during this period,” said Norma McCormick, project leader of the ISO Technical Committee, which developed the standard. But the standard is not just about COVID-19.
“Every organization has responsibilities for occupational safety and health, and the current epidemic has highlighted the important role that mental health plays in the workplace,” he said.
While many people feel powerless about the impact of recent events, much can be done to increase workforce resilience and foster a strong organizational culture. This standard brings together the best international practices in this field and applies to companies of all types and sizes.
ISO 45003 will also help employees and individuals meet the requirements of ISO 45001 as the world ‘s first international standard for occupational safety and health management system, the foundation of a resilient organization with a strong workforce.
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