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Sample Psychological Workplace Safety Policy

How to Create a Psychologically Safe Workplace Policy[1]

Preamble to the Policy:

We know that certain ways of organizing and managing work can present risks to the mental health of employees.

This policy is concerned only with those significant risks associated with organizing and managing work that are within the power of employers to modify.

In many cases these risks can be identified and abated, much like risks in the physical environment.

According to both scientific and legal evidence, organizational and managerial practices presenting risks to employee mental health include, but are not limited to the chronic and consistent:

  • Imposition of unreasonable or excessive job demands (“Demands”).
  • Withholding of adequate levels of materially important information, whether by choice or neglect (“Information”).
  • Refusal to allow the exercise of reasonable personal discretion over day-to-day means, manner and methods of work (“Personal Discretion”).
  • Failure to acknowledge or credit contributions and achievements (“Reward”).
  • Failure to support others in their work through timely counsel, direction, advice and provision of basic resources to get the job done (“Support”).
  • Failure to recognize and acknowledge legitimate claims, interests and rights of others, particularly those involving dignity, integrity of the person and privacy (“Fairness”).


The Policy (draft language for adaptation by specific employers)

This organization undertakes to support and protect mental health at work by all reasonable and practical means available.

For these purposes we define a psychologically safe workplace as one that makes every reasonable effort to protect the mental health of employees.

Our eventual aim is a “zero mental injury workplace.”

The pursuit and achievement of a psychologically safe workplace is an article of sound business practice and we declare our intention to provide and maintain such a workplace by following the standards and procedures described below.

Standards and Procedures for the Protection of Mental Health at Work

We will provide and maintain a psychologically safe workplace to the extent possible by following the procedures listed below.

These procedures address the measurement and abatement of hazards to mental health according to a set of evidence-based standards.

  1. Information will be collected within the workplace on at least an annual basis concerning the prevalence of psychosocial hazards seen as arising from organizational practices and their perceived impact on mental health using as a minimum the questions under “Standards for Assessing a Psychologically Safe Workplace”
  2. The focus in this regard is on the dimension of demand, information adequacy, exercise of discretion, psychological rewards, support and procedural fairness.
  3. Decision rules or criteria will be established for determining at what point action must be taken to abate identified psychosocial hazards related to unacceptable levels of demand, information adequacy, discretion psychological rewards, support and procedural fairness.
  4. Scientifically valid and reliable instruments will be used for this purpose.
  5. Commitment from Senior Management to act on the results of such surveys will be given clearly and without ambiguity.
  6. The process described in points “a to d” forms part of the central accountability procedures of the organization so that it is overseen and invigilated by at least one senior officer who reports to the CEO and whose job description includes this function.
  7. There is a related commitment to monitor and invigilate the process as it unfolds and to modify it as needed.
  8. The duty of diligence outlined above regarding information collection and use as it bears upon the prevalence of psychosocial hazards is explicitly linked to the organizations’ Occupational Health and Safety surveillance and monitoring system.
  9. Adequate financial resources will be allocated to the pursuit of this process through a dedicated cost centre under the control of a senior executive.


Standards for Assessing a Psychologically Safe Workplace

The standard of psychological safety, 85% or more of the workforce would agree or strongly agree with the following statements;

  1. The amount of work I am expected to do is reasonable for my position.
  2. I am informed about important changes at work before they happen.
  3. I am satisfied with the amount of involvement I have in decisions that affect my work.
  4. I feel I am rewarded (in terms of praise and recognition) for the level of effort I put into my job.
  5. My supervisor supports me in getting my work done.
  6. I am satisfied with the fairness and respect I receive on the job.


1]Shane, Martin and Mary Ann Baynton. Preventing Workplace Meltdown: An Employer’s Guide to Maintaining a Psychologically Safe Workplace. Toronto: Thomson Reuters, 2011. Print.

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