The ISO 45003:2021 standard can be helpful for very small organisations and will assist in prioritising risk-based approaches to tackle the root causes of psychological ill-health rather than just addressing the reactive impacts of psychosocial risk.
The new standard as a game changer for business
In Australia, there is approximately $12 billion per year in reduced workforce productivity and sick leave absences related to mental health issues1.
It is clear that the arrival of the ISO 45003:2021 standard is both timely and relevant. There has never been a more pivotal moment in time for organisations to make the changes needed from the experiences and challenges over the last 18 months.
The workplace stress of adhering to ever changing pandemic restrictions and requirements, and the effect of workforce and workplace changes such as home schooling, workload, work patterns, role clarity, loss of work, reduced hours or income, and other significant workplace change has been immense. The impact of the pandemic has left organisations feeling confused on how best to manage employee mental health and reduce workplace psychosocial risk both now and in the future.
ISO 45003:2021 offers best practice and practical advice on managing employees’ psychological health at work and managing or mitigating psychosocial risk. Workplace psychosocial risk factors may affect a workers’ psychological response to their work. These can include things such as working relationships with supervisors and colleagues, work demands, work patterns, work environment, role clarity, recognition and change management.
The risk of psychosocial harm, mental health issues and employee wellbeing is very real for some organisations now and is likely to continue to be in the future, and these organisations are urged to consider their risk exposure and do what’s possible to mitigate risk ahead of greater regulatory compliance and stakeholder scrutiny.
Supporting mental health in the workplace has never been so critical and understanding and meeting the ISO 45003:2021 standard will enable organisations to become more resilient and adaptive going forward.
1 The Black Dog Institute