More than one in four Canadian workers say their daily lives are highly stressful, according to a 2011 Statistics Canada report. More than 60 per cent of those “stressed” report work as the main problem.
This epidemic of stress is taking a heavy toll on workers leading to irritability, depression and other mental injuries. It is also a significant contributing factor to other health impacts ranging from the common cold and musculoskeletal disorders to heart disease and cancer. The quality of life for many of those affected is also suffering significantly.
Epidemics demand interventions.
One such initiative is that recently undertaken by the Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers (OHCOW) in partnership with several unions, academics and others. This collaborative effort led to the development of the Mental Injury Prevention Tool Kit. This publication, entitled Action on Workplace Stress—Mental Injury Prevention Tools for Ontario Workers, is designed to provide workers and their representatives a starting point to learn about workplace stress and how to address the workplace causes of stress.
Most "workplace stress" resources focus exclusively on how workers can cope with stress rather than stress prevention.
According to the authors of the new Mental Injury Prevention Tool Kit, “The aim of the kit is not to diagnose the worker, the aim is to diagnose the workplace—to organize together in whatever way we can and urge employers to make the changes necessary to prevent negative impacts on the physical or mental health of workers.
The Mental Injury Prevention Kit consists of six parts:
Part 1—Why Should We Care?
Part 2—Workplace Stress: Assumptions, Terminology and Approaches
Part 3—What are Other Jurisdictions Doing?
Part 4—What are My Rights and Legal Protections? (Focus on Ontario)
Part 5—Workplace Action Plan
For those already suffering with mental injuries the tool kit offers strategies for securing compensation through short and long-term sick benefits as well as compensation claims to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.
Additional resources for workers and their representatives are offered throughout the kit including links to relevant occupational health and safety law and training and information services offered by the Workers Health and Safety Centre (WHSC).
Want to access the Mental Injury Prevention Tool Kit for Ontario Workers?
Want to learn more about the wide range of WHSC training programs applicable to stress/mental injury awareness and prevention? Call Toll Free 1-888-869-7950 and ask to speak to a WHSC Training Services representative.
Want to read applicable WHSC hazard bulletins including:
Workplace Violence; and