The original OHS laws were all about machines, chemicals, electricity and other traditional industrial hazards. What few recognized at the time is how social issues and behaviours in the workplace could also constitute a hazard. For the past decade or so, provincial governments have been in catch-up mode, changing their laws to require employers to have written policies to prevent workplace violence, bullying and harassment. But once more, our understanding of workplace social hazards is moving faster than our laws. The newest stage is the evolution of a workplace psychological safety policy that looks at social and behavioural hazards broadly and proactively. Although it’s not a legal requirement, the psychological safety policy is a best practice (encapsulated in CSA standard CSA-Z1003-13, Psychological health and safety in the workplace — Prevention, promotion, and guidance to staged implementation).
HOW TO USE THIS TOOL
Here’s a template of a Psychological Safety Policy based on Alberta law that you can adapt for your own use.