Workers Health & Safety Centre

WHSC Stress in the Workplace Updated to Version 2.0

WHSC Stress in the Workplace Updated to Version 2.0
This WHSC three-hour Certification Hazard-Specific module was completely rewritten to include updated information, highlight key points, and provide more engaging activities. This version also includes the Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ) survey as a resource participants can use in the workplace. 
Stress in the Workplace is designed to equip participants with information that will enable them to recognize and assess workplace causes of stress and recommend control measures.
Following is the delivery format for Stress in the Workplace Version 2.0.

Instructor notes

To begin, if not already covered, the instructor briefly reviews the core element of an effective health and safety policy and program. (This is brief because it is a review of content already covered in Basic Certification.) Also note that core elements are addressed in detail if and when a module is delivered on its own or is the first in a series.
With an active lecture, the instructor introduces the terms “stress” and “stressor” and explains the focus of this module is workplace stress, as opposed to personal stressors.  Participants will engage in a brainstorm exercise to identify causes of stress in their workplaces. Answers are written on a flipchart and posted for use when controls are discussed later in the module. 
Using slides the instructor briefly explains that organizational stressors fall under three categories – physical environment, work organization and socio-economic. The instructor also introduces the concepts of good job design, social support and individual coping.
To start the discussion on health effects, participants use a body map to indicate where stress affects them and analyze it for patterns.  The instructor draws a large outline of a body on a flipchart. (This can be prepared in advance.) Using slides, the instructor briefly explains a few health effects, key research findings and facts that illustrate the magnitude of the problem.
There is one worksheet with a case study and 10 questions. The first set of questions – one through 5, involves identifying and assessing stressors and is discussed by the whole group before the break.  The second set is on controls and is completed later in the module in buzz groups. 
Note: Before the break, the instructor distributes a short self-scoring stress questionnaire. Participants complete it during the break and it is discussed later in the module.
After the break, the core element on principles of control is briefly reviewed, if not already delivered.  The instructor explains the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Standard, Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace and points out the sample audit tool in resource sheet #4 for participants’ future reference.
The instructor then brainstorms participants for one quick example of each type of control as it relates to stress and directs participant to the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) checklist for stress prevention in resource sheet #5, for future reference.
To complete the next set of questions from the worksheet, participants are divided into four buzz groups and directed to suggest control options for the stressors identified in the case study.  Each group is assigned a different question from six to nine. All groups complete question #10, by suggesting possible controls for one of the stressors participants identified during the brainstorm at the beginning of the module.
During an active lecture and using slides the instructor explains COPSOQ.  The questionnaire is a tool for the assessment and improvement of the psychosocial work environment. The questionnaire participants completed during the break is s short version of the COPSOQ survey.  Resource sheet #3 provides a longer version of the survey which can be used in the workplace. The instructor explains the benefits of the survey and discusses sample reports based on the COPSOQ survey.
The instructor concludes the module by sharing three success stories provided on slides and reviewing the objectives.
Note: The video from the previous version of this program was considered too dated and was deleted to allow time for other educational techniques.

Participant manual

The participant manual was revised to reflect changes in the delivery of the module. The policy and program core element content is in resource sheet #1. Other resources sheets included for participants’ future reference are:
  • Basic needs for good mental health (RS#2)
  • COPSOQ survey (RS#3)
  • CSA sample audit tool (RS#4)
  • ILO stress prevention at work checklist (RS#5).

Stress in the Workplace Version 2.0 is available for booking now by contacting a WHSC training service representative.
A brief course description is available on the WHSC online Training Catalogue where you can also Request a Quote for onsite delivery of this course.