Worlds first ISO Standard tackling Mental Health in the Workplace

  • 05 Jul 2021
  • Lisa
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ISO 45003 will be the first International standard providing a structural framework to help businesses manage psychological risks  

The new standards; ISO 45003 - Occupational Health and Safety management – Psychological health and safety at work, provide guidelines to organizations on how to manage psychological health and safety risk factors.  

Addressing many areas that impact a workers mental health, the ISO 45003 includes areas such as excessive pressure, poor leadership, job security and work-life balance. 

It further defines what psychological risks are, how to identify them and what actions can be taken to manage or improve an employee’s experience.  

In the past, Occupational Health and Safety management was focused heavily in the area of physical safety than on health. The areas of health tended to veer towards physical health instead of wellbeing and mental health.  

For many organizations, the psychological impact that Covid 19 has had on workers, has been one of the hardest risks to manage. Staff morale and wellbeing impacted by the pandemic have taken a heavy toll on productivity.  

According to the BCI Horizons scan, up to 64.8% of productivity had been lost by the negative impact the pandemic had on staff wellbeing. Lower staff morale also lead to over 51% losses in revenue. 

According to ISO, the new standards are the start of building a foundation for a more happier and resilient workforce. Though they say the pandemic has not been the catalyst for the new guidelines, they do believe that the pandemic has brought into sharp focus the important role of a people centered workplace.  

Norma McCormick, Project Leader of the ISO technical committee said, “While many have felt powerless about the impact of recent events, there are many things that can be done to build the resilience of staff and promote a strong organizational culture. This standard brings together international best practice in this area and is relevant to companies of all types and sizes”. 


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Lisa Hanley