Learn about the Psychosocial Factors – Psychological Protection

Feb 6, 2020 | News

Last week, I wrote a brief article on “Balance”, the eleventh of 13 Psychosocial Factors as outlined in the National Standard for Psychological Health and Safety. These factors are elements that have the potential to positively impact employee mental health, psychological safety, and participation.

What is Psychological Protection?

Have you ever been in a staff meeting and wanted to ask a question, but were afraid that it might not be well received? Maybe you had to report a mistake to your supervisor or let them know you’re feeling overwhelmed. Did you feel safe bringing this up? Were you afraid that it would impact your job or that you might be perceived differently?

A workplace where employees feel able to put themselves on the line, ask questions, seek feedback, report mistakes and problems, or propose a new idea without fearing negative consequences to themselves, their job or their career, is one that models good Psychological Protection. When employees are psychologically protected, they tend to demonstrate greater job satisfaction; they are more likely to speak up and participate; and they experience fewer grievances, conflicts, and liability risks.

It’s important to remember that safety isn’t just about what can hurt your body, but also, what can hurt your mind. When employees don’t feel psychologically safe, they fear vulnerability, issues that affect them don’t get discussed, and mistrust can permeate the workplace.

What can you do?

• As a worker – Although not everyone is comfortable doing so, it is important that staff speak up and contribute to conversations that have an impact on them and the work they do.
• As a leader –
o Encourage an environment where staff feel safe to speak up and be heard.
o Create opportunities for staff to have open and confidential chats.
o Take initiative and approach staff to ask them for their opinion.

Stay tuned for the next article on the thirteenth and final Psychosocial Factor – Protection of Physical Safety.


Please contact either Conor MacPhee, Psychological Health & Safety Coordinator at 604-806-9814 or Sandy Coughlin, Occupational Health & Safety Director at 604-806-8635.

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