Canadian Occupational Safety

May/June 2020

Canadian Occupational Safety (COS) magazine is the premier workplace health and safety publication in Canada. We cover a wide range of topics ranging from office to heavy industry, and from general safety management to specific workplace hazards.

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Page 29 of 35

30 S P E C I A L P R O M O T I O N A L F E A T U R E MIND THE GAP A survey of safety decision-makers shows there's a deep need for formal plans to address workplace mental health concerns. Dianna Dymond built hers to meet the unique needs of her organization. IN a survey of workplace safety decision-makers taken on behalf of Workplace Safety & Prevention Services (WSPS), almost 70 per cent of respondents saw mental health as the biggest emerging health and safety challenge. Of that same group, 76 per cent have no formal plan to manage it. Stress management was cited as a Dymond built a formal mental health plan that fits her organization, beginning from onboarding. She and her team raise awareness of mental health concerns, foster a culture of communication and accommodate for mental injuries. "I think the challenge is that there's no one standard approach to treating mental health concerns in the workplace," Dymond says. "When it comes to physical injuries, you have something tangible to work with. From top concern by the majority of respondents. Eighty-five per cent have no formal plan to manage it. Within the respondent group, there was nearly universal agreement that mental health challenges impact business goals from day-to-day productivity to retention rates, right down to workplace culture. Organizations need to build formal plans, but the survey shows how few have put them in place. There's a knowledge gap running alongside the preparedness gap. The pandemic- driven shift toward remote work for many — and high-stress frontline work for some — means safety leaders need to bridge that gap now, despite the new challenges they face. Dianna Dymond, HR director at Lais Hotel Properties, manages a peak season staff of 1,400, bringing on 300 new faces every summer. Lais' mental health and safety challenges are compounded by the fast-paced and seasonal nature of hospitality work. the mental health perspective, you don't have that… They're hidden illnesses." Awareness was Lais' first priority when addressing these mental health concerns. It models its mental health awareness initiatives on past successes in addressing workplace harassment and violence. The supervisor level is key as it has the most direct impact on employees. Supervisors foster open reporting and supportive communication with employees when they say they're suffering from mental injury. "When it comes to physical injuries, you have something tangible to work with. From the mental health perspective, you don't have that… They're hidden illnesses." Dianna Dymond, HR Director, Lais Hotel Properties Lynn Brownell is CEO and President of WSPS Overall workplace mental health, workload and stress management are the top three emerging health and safety issues for the next three to five years. Notably, very few companies have formal plans to manage these. 57% Impairment 64% Managing return to work 77% Violence and harassment 24% Mental health 27% Increasing sick time and long- term disability 38% Muskoskeletal injuries 12% Workload (e.g., shortage of workers, aging workforce) 14% Stress management 20% Remote working 7% Aging workforce 10% Presenteeism GROWING OR EMERGING CHALLENGE FORMAL PLAN TO MANAGE OR RESOURCE MENTAL HEALTH 67% 60% 58% 55% 44% 26% 25% 25% 23% 22% 18% STRESS MANAGEMENT MUSCULOSKELETAL INJURIES PRESENTEEISM MANAGING RETURN TO WORK WORKLOAD (e.g., shortage of workers, aging workforce) AGING WORKFORCE INCREASING SICK TIME AND LONG-TERM DISABILITY VIOLENCE AND HARASSMENT IMPAIRMENT REMOTE WORKING WORKFORCE MOST COMPANIES DO NOT HAVE A FORMAL STRUCTURE FOR MANAGING GROWING OR EMERGING H&S CHALLENGES

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