11 April 2022

ISO 45003 – A Framework for Managing Psychosocial Risks in the work place.

ISO 45003 – A Framework for Managing Psychosocial Risks in the work place.

In our previous Blog, I spoke about ISO 45001:2018 and the benefits the Occupational Health & Safety standard can bring to any organisation. The purpose of ISO 45001 is to help organizations put systems, practices and controls in place to improve their health and safety performance by providing safe and healthy workplaces, preventing work related accidents, ill health and injury. One of the key risk factors to be considered within any organisation is the identification, treatment and management of psychological health and safety in the workplace.

In this blog, we break down ISO 45003. We are going to provide some guidelines on the identification of the psychosocial risks in the workplace. The details are outlined in ISO 45003:2021, Occupational health and safety management – Psychological health and safety at work – Guidelines for managing psychosocial risks.

So, What is ISO 45003:2021?

ISO 45003 is a guideline on the management of psychological health and safety at work and the psychosocial risks in the workplace. This document provides guidance on the identification and management of psychosocial risks and promoting well-being at work, as part of an occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system. This guideline should be used in conjunction with ISO 45001, which contains requirements and guidance on planning, implementing, reviewing, evaluating and improving an OH&S management system.

The guideline provides:

  • Examples of psychosocial hazards arising from work organization.
  • Examples of psychosocial hazards arising from social factors.
  • Examples of psychosocial hazards arising from work environment, equipment & hazardous tasks.
  • Details on how to recognize the psychosocial hazards that can affect workers.
  • Suggestions and processes to mitigate and manage psychosocial hazards and improve employee health and wellbeing.

Who is ISO 45003 for?

  • The guideline has been documented in order to assist organizations that have implemented or are in the process of implementing an occupational health and safety management system based on ISO45001.
  • It will also be beneficial to any organisation that has an interest in managing the psychosocial risks in the workplace and improving the health and wellbeing of its staff.

Benefits of ISO 45003:2021

Implementing mental health supports within organizations has become critical to ensure the wellbeing of employees. There are significant benefits associated with the development of a framework for managing psychosocial risks within the workplace.

Some highlights include:

  • Reduced absence arising from workplace stress, burnout, anxiety and depression
  • Improved recruitment of new and retention of existing staff
  • Positive employee engagement
  • Improved employee consultation and buddy mentoring
  • Improvement in the organisation’s reputation
  • Greater employee awareness of psychosocial risks
  • Creation of a workplace environment whereby employees can thrive
  • Legal compliance

What are Psychosocial Risks

A psychosocial risk is anything that negatively impacts your health, safety and wellbeing at work such as aspects of work organisation, social factors at work, work environment, equipment and hazardous tasks.

The ISO 45003 guideline states that ‘There are a range of terms that are used in relation to what psychosocial risks affect, including “psychological health” and “mental health”. These terms are considered interchangeable and to have the same meaning for the purposes of this document’.

The three main Psychosocial Risks areas detailed in the guideline are:

Work organization – How work is organized

  • Lack of control over workload
  • Inflexible work schedule
  • Deadlines
  • Type of work
  • Isolation
  • Lack of support during organizational change.

Social factors at work

  • Conflict
  • Lack of transparency in communication
  • Culture
  • Working relationships
  • Bullying
  • Harassment
  • No planning for personal development,
  • Fairness – no evaluation or platform for feedback
  • Lack of a work life balance

Work environment, equipment & hazardous tasks

  • Poor workplace conditions – E.G Noise or high temperatures
  • Thermal discomfort
  • Lack of equipment to complete tasks in a safe manner
  • Physical pain for muscular skeletal disorders
  • Fear of violence and aggression
  • Witnessing an accident

Get in contact

If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of implementing a health and safety management system can bring to your business, why not contact us for a fee consultation

Paul McDonell