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Mar 2016

5 Reasons Why Mental Health is Important in a Safe Work Environment


I am an Occupational Health and Safety Technician and I often feel the workers' psychological state of mind is underappreciated.

This is a very important aspect of Health and Safety in any working environment!

For example if you suspect a worker may have suicidal tendencies as a result of some marital problems it isn’t a great idea to put him to work 150 m above the ground, without offering some kind of support or counseling. I’ve had the unfortunate experience of being a part of the team dealing with the consequences of just such a situation.  One of our workers was struggling with a difficult divorce, began his shift, removed his personal protective equipment and jumped from a high rise construction project.  

Here are 5 reasons why I think the psychological aspect is so important in a working environment.

#1 - To allow self-fulfillment

Nowadays the job occupies a significant portion of your workers’ daily life.  For some their entire identity is wrapped up in their work. For this reason and many more it’s critical that workers and owners are professionally fulfilled, and to aid in that fulfillment, companies must focus on mental health.

Ensure workers are receiving proper feedback about their value.  No one wants to feel like they can be replaced.  It’s important to be part of something, so make sure your employees know they are part of a team that values them.

#2 - Better productivity

Research proves that when people are happy and mentally healthy they are also more productive.
So, invest in programs and measures to address psychological problems  and ensure that every worker has a good mental health status.

#3 - Lower absenteeism rate

Nowadays it is common for people to suffer from depression related to work stresses. That leads to a greater absenteeism rate and a greater rotation of workers.

The absenteeism rate and the replacement of workers affects a company economically. So the mental aspect should be considered when prevention plans are being created.

#4 - Prevent unnecessary accidents

The mental health of a person also plays an important role in preventing accidents.

When someone isn’t at their mental best due to stress, overcome with distractions, or depressed they are more prone to accidents.
Your company should have plans in place to identify those in need and offer appropriate support. For example, you can provide workshops to aid in coping with situations like maternity/paternity, death in the family, or divorce. Even better, you can have add an occupational psychologist to the payroll full time or as needed.

You must focus on protocols to identify, prevent and offer assistance to anyone who may need that help.

#5 - Better business image

The image of your company is very important.  You invest a lot of resources in marketing and branding, but never forget that your workers also play an immeasurable role in your company`s image.

If your workers are fulfilled, are proud of their work and your company, they’ll naturally show it, and your customers will notice.  Take care of your people, and they will take care of your customers.  That kind of support is priceless! However, if your workers are depressed, think their work has no value, and aren`t proud of the company they will show that too.  

Enhancing your image should never be the primary motivator for investing in a good occupational  mental health and psychology program, it is definitely an important outcome of one.

Be safe, have a healthy place!!!

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