Psychological Health and Safety

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Historically, physical injuries have been the primary measure of safety in the workplace. Today, the importance of psychological health and safety is growing. We understand that the management of people, the organization of work, and the quality of relationships among workers have an influence on worker mental health and productivity. We also recognise that prolonged or heightened levels of work related stress, if not appropriately addressed, can result in negative impacts on an individual’s health, productivity, and personal life.

A psychologically healthy and safe workplace is one that promotes worker mental well-being by recognizing the impact of stressors and providing a supportive environment for workers with a mental health illness. It also does not cause harm through negligent, reckless or intentional actions or omissions.

To achieve this goal, workplaces require a process to identify, assess and control these psychological health and safety hazards proactively and on an ongoing basis. It also means that workers and supervisors need training in their roles and responsibilities to be effective.

There is no "right way" to create a mentally healthy and safe workplace because every workplace is different. Many factors play a role - from the worker to the work that needs to be done, and from the leadership to influences of the community. It is a good practice to embed psychological health and safety in all aspects of your health and safety management system and your operations.

Employer Responsibilities

Employers must:

  • Protect the health, safety and welfare of workers.
  • Provide proper written or oral instruction to workers regarding precautions to be taken for their protection.

Worker Responsibilities

Workers must:

  • Follow safe work practices and procedures.
  • Participate in training and hazard assessments, if provided.
  • Immediately report concerns and hazards to the supervisor or employer.

Related Topics

OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY ACT
R.S.N.L. 1990, c. O-3

Section 4 Employers' general duty

4. An employer shall ensure, where it is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of his or her workers.

Section 5 Specific duties of employers

5. Without limiting the generality of section 4, an employer

(a) shall, where it is reasonably practicable, provide and maintain a workplace and the necessary equipment, systems and tools that are safe and without risk to the health of his or her workers;

(b) shall, where it is reasonably practicable, provide the information, instruction, training and supervision and facilities that are necessary to ensure the health, safety and welfare of his or her workers;

(c) shall ensure that his or her workers, and particularly his or her supervisors, are made familiar with health or safety hazards that may be met by them in the workplace;

(d) shall, where it is reasonably practicable, conduct his or her undertaking so that persons not in his or her employ are not exposed to health or safety hazards as a result of the undertaking;

(e) shall ensure that his or her workers are given operating instruction in the use of devices and equipment provided for their protection;

(f) shall consult and co-operate with the occupational health and safety committee, the worker health and safety representative or the workplace health and safety designate, where the employer is not the workplace health and safety designate, on all matters respecting occupational health and safety at the workplace;

(f.1) shall respond in writing within 30 days to a recommendation of

(i) the occupational health and safety committee at the workplace,

(ii) the worker health and safety representative at the workplace, or

(iii) where the employer is not the workplace health and safety designate, the workplace health and safety designate at the workplace

indicating that the recommendation has been accepted or that it has been rejected, with a reason for the rejection;

(f.2) shall provide periodic written updates to

(i) the occupational health and safety committee at the workplace,

(ii) the worker health and safety representative at the workplace, or

(iii) where the employer is not the workplace health and safety designate, the workplace health and safety designate at the workplace

on the implementation of a recommendation accepted by the employer until the implementation is complete;

(f.3) shall consult with

(i) the occupational health and safety committee at the workplace,

(ii) the worker health and safety representative at the workplace, or

(iii) where the employer is not the workplace health and safety designate, the workplace health and safety designate at the workplace

about the scheduling of workplace inspections that are required by the regulations, and ensure that the committee, the worker health and safety representative or the workplace health and safety designate participates in the inspection; and

(g) shall co-operate with a person exercising a duty imposed by this Act or regulations.

[S.N.L. 1999, c. 28, s. 2; 2001, c. 10, s. 25; 2004, c. 52, s. 1]

Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 2012
N.L.R. 5/12

Part III GENERAL DUTIES

Section 17 General duties of workers

17. (1) A worker shall make proper use of all necessary safeguards, protective clothing, safety devices, lifting devices or aids, and appliances

(a) designated and provided for his or her protection by the employer; or

(b) required under these regulations to be used or worn by a worker.

(2) A worker shall follow the safe work procedure in which he or she has been instructed.

(3) A worker shall immediately report a hazardous work condition that may come to his or her attention to the employer or supervisor.