ISO Standards for Mental Health in the Workplace

Jan 04, 2022 editor

A new standard has been launched to provide better support for mental wellbeing in the workplace. It might be time to take steps to manage the risks in your business.

Last year saw the launch of ISO 45003, a new international standard for management of pyschological health at work. While this standard is voluntary, it does offer detailed advice on managing the risks within your business, ensuring effective occupational health and safety. The standards will focus to bring mental wellbeing in line with physical wellbeing when at work.

''The pandemic will have lasting impacts for the mental health of the current working population but also the younger generations who have yet to enter the job market. Organizations will need to not only continue to support their workers’ mental health now but continually improve and enhance this provision''.

SUSAN TAYLOR MARTIN – CHIEF EXECUTIVE,The British Standards Institution

Attainment will require a high level of resource and will be aspirational for businesses. Sixth Mental Health Core Standards outlined in the UK government backed Thriving at Work Review, is possibly a starting point for smaller businesses and there is an easy to read outline here.

Without a doubt, the cost to businesses on mental health issues, in terms of absenteeism, presenteeism and staff turnover as well as legal responsibilities is significant. The Thriving at Work Review estimated the cost in the leisure, hopsitality and catering industries to be between £497 and £932 per employee with through direct illness or through impact on those around them. 

ISO 45003 is the first global standard giving practical guidance..

It includes:

  • Information on how to recognize the psychosocial hazards that can affect workers, such as those that arise from home working
  • Offers examples of effective – often simple - actions that can be taken to manage these and improve employee wellbeing

The Six Core Mental Health Standards:

Produce, implement and communicate a mental health at work plan

Developmental health awareness amongst employees

Encourage open conversations about mental health and the support available when employees are struggling

Provide employees with good working conditions and ensure they have a good work-life balance, plus opportunities for development

Promote effevtive people management through line managers and supervisors

Routinely monitor employee mental health and wellbeing.