This article has been updated following the publication of ISO 45003:2021 in June 2021.
ISO 45003 is an international standard that provides a structured framework to help organisations identify and address areas that can negatively impact employee’s mental health.
What is ISO 45003?
Historically, many organisations’ Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) management was focussed far more on safety than on health, and what focus there was tended to be directed more towards physical health than mental health and well-being. But this has changed significantly in recent years, as the impact and costs of worker ill-health, both physical and psychological, are increasingly recognised. These changes are also reflected in OH&S standards, most recently with the development of ISO 45003 which is the first international standard to provide guidance on psychological health and safety at work and can be used as guidance to support ISO 45001.
The standard addresses many areas that can contribute to work-related stress and adversely impact employee’s mental health including:
- how work is organised, including:
- clarity of roles
- job demands, workload and work pace
- organisational change management
- job security
- social factors at work, including:
- organisational and team culture
- recognition and reward
- supervision and support
- work-life balance
- harassment, bullying and victimisation
- work environment, equipment and hazardous tasks, including:
- adequacy and suitability of work equipment
- workplace conditions including working space, lighting levels, ventilation, noise
It defines what psychosocial hazards are, how to identify the hazards and offers actions that can be taken to help manage and improve employee well-being.
How can organisations benefit from ISO 45003?
ISO 45003 helps organisations remove the stigma around talking about mental health in the workplace. It supports organisations who want to;
- build a positive working environment
- improve organisational resilience
- create a positive health and safety culture
- enhance performance and productivity
- reduce absenteeism
The pandemic has prompted many organisations to recognise the improvements needed to better protect their employee’s and their business operations. As such, supporting employee’s mental health and well-being has become a key issue ISO 45001 provides a strong framework to help organisations review the effectiveness of their occupational health & safety management and prioritise improvements, with ISO 45003 and ISO/PAS 45005 providing detailed supporting guidance.
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