Element 2: Hazard Assessment

Element 2: Hazard Assessment

Performing hazard assessments is a core component of your health and safety program. Your program should already include hazard assessments around harassment and violence. Workplace Safety and Health legislation requires workplaces to have policies and practices in place to address the psychological hazards associated with harassment and violence.

Other psychological hazards should be considered, including the National Standard for Psychological Health & Safety’s 13 factors. Individually (or in combination), each of these factors can contribute to either the promotion or detriment of psychological health and safety. 

Learn about the 13 Factors that may cause psychological harm in the workplace and why they are important.

Ensure you 'Spot the Hazards' by including psychological hazards into your existing safety and health system framework, and incorporate other methods, such as: 
  • Use your existing tools for spotting hazards to also look for psychological hazards. Some examples include: job hazard analysis formsinspections, worker concerns and reviewing internal stats
  • Conduct surveys: use existing surveys like engagement surveys, or use surveys developed by Workplace Strategies for Mental Health.
  • Conduct focus groups:  A good place to start is to have a discussion with your joint workplace safety and health committee to provide a temperate check on the current workplace climate. More formal focus groups can be developed and include all areas of the workplace.


Addressing the 13 Factors can help prevent psychological injury and help promote positive mental health in the workplace: 
  1. Organizational culture - Build trust by ensuring avenues for conflict resolution and having respectful workplace policies. Have opportunities for meaningful employee participation.
  2. Psychological and social support - Provide an EAP program, create peer support groups, ensure leaders are trained and know how to respond to someone who needs psychological support, offer team building activities, provide resiliency and mental health awareness training, and train staff in mental health first aid.
  3. Clear leadership and expectations - Ensuring the right people are in the right role will provide clear expectations. Ensure roles and responsibilities are clearly assigned. Include responsibilities in job descriptions and performance reviews. Include emotional intelligence in professional development for leaders.
  4. Civility and respect - Build a respectful workplace policy, which demands civility and respect in interactions with each other, customers, clients and the public. 
  5. Psychological job demands - Include psychological demands in job descriptions. Examples include ability to work in isolation, ability to work with little direction, ability to manage conflict.
  6. Growth and development - Provide internal and external opportunities for workers to build their competencies.  Identify skill advancement paths, learning opportunities and mentorship programs.
  7. Recognition and reward - Build recognition into performance reviews. Acknowledge achievements such as years of service, project completion and good work through celebrations, formal recognition, compensation and personal expressions of appreciation.
  8. Involvement and influence - Create mechanisms for continual feedback. Educate and support leaders to have discussions with workers about work processes and how they can be improved.
  9. Workload management - Provide education about resilience, time management and preventing burnout. Provide the Tools, resources, equipment, support and time to complete work assigned. Take concerns regarding workload serious and take actions to address.
  10. Engagement - conduct surveys and/or focus groups - survey to establish a baseline. Ask for worker feedback, relay results of surveys, host team meetings on a regular basis. Provide space for workers to gather. Ask for workers ideas on social activities
  11. Work/life balance - Ask leaders to model balance. Consider flexible work arrangements, work from home, reduced work weeks/hours, and opportunities to make up time. Build health and wellness activities into work routines.
  12. Psychological protection - Have your staff trained on mental health awareness to address harmful stereotypes and stigma. Protect you workers from violence and harassment in the workplace. Ensure that supervisors are trained. 
  13. Protection of physical safety - Have a safety and health program that ensure workers are protected from hazards. Communicate to employees that safety is a priority. Consider becoming certified through one of the SAFE Work Certified programs.
Learn more about addressing the 13 Factors.


Return to list of 11 elements of a safety and health program.

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