Hess Associates

Laboratory Workplace Psychological Health


Research indicates a strong correlation between psychological health, and obviously health
and safety in general, at work and the increased revenue derived from greater productivity,
and decrease in employee absenteeism and turnover.
(see The Dollar Cost of Employee Turnover (http://hessjobs.mobi/the-dollar-cost-of-employee-turnover)).

Recently the Mental Health Association of Canada commissioned
a new standard, “Psychological health and safety in the workplace, Prevention, promotion,
and guidance to staged implementation”, which was then published by the CSA.

For example, amongst lab workers, in addition to the biochemical and actual physical risks,
and over time hours’ stressors, psychological hazards ranked very high, as a stress provoking agent.
Not surprisingly, this impacts home life and personal interactions as well.
Particular areas of difficulty could include frequent introduction of new technologies
requiring frequent retraining, new learning while continuing to do ones’ regular work,
forced requests for workers to do shift work and overtime (often uncompensated) – leading to stress at home,
and in some cases –difficult, unavoidable interactions with demanding, irritated, bullying
clients (the public), demanding, non-understanding bosses, intimidation, forced change in status
such as demotion without cause, denigration by superiors or peers, removing all responsibility
so as to purposely make a person redundant, all lead to unbelievable stress, tension, eroding
of self esteem, and harmful effects on all aspects of life.

Thus, what were the suggestions and guidelines?
Essentially a focus on mandated adoption of a non-abuse policy, related education, available
coping resources for bullied victims, reasonable schedules re retraining for new technologies,
time management re approaches to overtime requirements, adequate break times, limit
to consecutive working days, and building respect within the workplace and encouraging

Some of these good practice guidelines can be found at
Accreditation Canada – http://accreditation.ca/en/content.aspx?pageid=66.

What are some of your stressors at work?

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