The first international guide on how businesses can deal with psychological health and safety and psychosocial risks at work has been published by the BSI, the National Standards Body.
The new standard, named ISO 45003: Occupational health and safety management – Psychological health and safety at work — Guidelines for managing psychosocial risks, provides recommendations to organisations on how to prevent work-related psychological ill-health in their workers and other relevant interested parties.
It is published as psychosocial hazards are "increasingly recognized as major challenges to health, safety and wellbeing at work" said the BSI, pointing out how the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted ways of working and "demanded that people adapt to new challenges like increased isolation and changing priorities".
For organisations, the impact of psychosocial risks includes increased costs because of absence from work, reduced ability to work effectively and increased staff turnover, as well as damage to the organisation’s reputation. Effective management can eliminate or mitigate these risks and lead to benefits such as improved engagement, enhanced productivity and organisational resilience and sustainability.
Scott Steedman, director-general of Standards at BSI said: “We are proud to have led the development of ISO 45003, the first international standard on managing psychosocial health and safety at work. The global pandemic has put new pressures on people whose employers expect them to work from home or in challenging new working conditions. This important business standard is a consensus of good practice for organisations everywhere, providing off-the-shelf advice for companies so that they can enhance the wellbeing of their employees whilst striving to meet business needs, a win-win outcome.”
The committee composed of experts from 40 countries developed this international standard to be practical and easy to understand for every organisation, including those without a dedicated occupational health and safety or human resources function. It is applicable to organisations of all sizes and in all sectors, for the development, implementation, maintenance, and continual improvement of healthy and safe workplaces.