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Mental Health and Safety

Wed, 01/30/2019

Over the last several years, the conversation around Mental Health has grown stronger and stronger as more people join and lend their voice and experience.  It seems, as each year goes by, more light gets shed on this topic that impacts all of us – which is extremely encouraging to see.

From the safety perspective, it has also been very reassuring to see this discussion enter our space.  For a couple of years now, leaders in the safety world have been infusing this conversation into their meetings, toolbox talks and hazard assessments.  It seems so obvious now, but of course Mental Health impacts workplace safety.  When a person walks through the front door of their workplace, they bring their entire life with them.  And, this is true for everyone.  For this reason, it is imperative that we continue to keep the lines of communication open at work.  If a worker who is struggling with a personal crisis just has the knowledge that they are able to reach out to co-workers, should they need someone to listen, and be shown compassion and respect – that alone will provide comfort and lessen the struggle.

An organization’s Safety Culture cannot maintain strength without placing importance on and putting effort into both physical safety and mental health.  You can have world-class initiatives regarding the preservation of physical safety, but if you ignore or block out a healthy and ongoing dialogue around Mental Health, all efforts can easily be undone.  Your safety and the safety of your co-workers depends heavily on every person’s ability to conduct their function in such a way to ensure nominal operation.  All it takes is for one person to have their abilities inhibited because they are dealing with a Mental Health crisis that’s being exacerbated by the belief that they can’t talk to anyone about it.  Hazards are always lying in wait and are incapable of sympathy or compassion – they are indifferent to someone’s struggles.  That’s why you must ensure that your corporate culture is one of tolerance, understanding and genuine care.  You have to look out for others and be willing to listen if a strong Safety Culture is to be realized.  The state of each person’s Mental Health will have a direct impact on workplace safety – let’s work together to ensure the impact is a positive one, where no gets physically injured because of social neglect or isolation.

As it is Bell Let’s Talk Day, let’s discuss ways we can keep this conversation going, beyond just this day.  Interact with your co-workers and staff to identify initiatives that will stimulate an open, educated and compassionate work environment.

At SayleGroup and SayleSafety, we are very passionate about infusing Mental Health into safety.  Our Safety Culture 100 Online Educational Course identifies Mental Health as one of the key elements in establishing a strong and sustainable Safety Culture.  The course founds the idea that you cannot achieve a truly safe workplace unless you consider the mental well-being of its people.  Also, our SayleSafety Hazard Assessment App allows you to easily infuse Mental Health content and checklists into your toolbox talks or safety discussions.

Take every advantage within your organization to continue communicating on the topic of Mental Health and stay aware of solutions or resources that can be implemented to support a culture of openness and understanding.  If you are in crisis, reach out to someone who will listen, go to your nearest hospital, call 911 or your regional crisis line.