Mental health injuries are on the rise across our province and our country. To develop a long-term strategy, which will include resources to assist Saskatchewan employers deal with psychological health issues in the workplace, WorkSafe Saskatchewan has formed a partnership with Dr. Joti Samra, one of Canada’s foremost psychological health and wellness experts. WorkSafe is the workplace injury prevention partnership between the Saskatchewan Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) and the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety.
“We’re very excited to partner with Dr. Samra to develop a long-term psychological health and safety strategy for the province. Part of the initiative within the strategy will be to develop a resource centre available on WorkSafe’s website, which will include not only written resources, but also podcasts, videos, blogs and webinars,” said Kevin Mooney, the WCB’s vice-president of prevention and employer services. “The centre will provide Saskatchewan employers with the online tools they need to develop and sustain psychologically healthy and safe work environments for their employees.”
Samra will provide hands-on support by offering office hours for consultation. There will be peer learning groups and specific resources for high-risk industries experiencing a larger number of psychological claims. WorkSafe Saskatchewan is looking to build capacity to deliver value-added service on this topic to employers and workers in the province.
While mental health claims only account for a small percentage of the workplace claims submitted in Saskatchewan, those numbers are on the rise. The number of primary mental health claims accepted by the Saskatchewan WCB has increased by 213 per cent from 2015 to 2019. This represents 952 psychological injury claims. The number of accepted psychological injury claims has increased each year, from 98 in 2015 to 307 in 2019. More WCB statistics are attached.
“I’m very pleased to work with the Saskatchewan WCB on this important initiative,” said Samra. “The benefits to employers who invest in sustainable psychological health and safety management systems are considerable, including increased employee productivity and engagement, reduced absenteeism and fewer (and shorter in duration) disability claims.”
Samra (bio attached) is a national expert on issues relating to psychological health, wellness and resilience. Her research has contributed significantly to the evolution and development of a national standard for psychological health and safety in the workplace. She is also the CEO and founder of MyWorkplaceHealth, a full-suite national workplace consulting firm.
The resource centre will offer tools and resources for Saskatchewan employers wanting to launch psychological health and safety systems in their workplaces, or enhance their existing efforts. The centre will also provide answers to some commonly asked questions and direct users to specific WCB resources for more assistance. It will be available this fall on the WorkSafe website.