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Press Release
WINNIPEG, Oct. 10, 2014--(CNW)--

Canada's Safest Employers Awards to recognize efforts to protect psychological health and safety in the workplace

Canada NewsWire


Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace sponsors new national "Canada's Safest Employers Award - Psychological Safety"; visit www.safestemployers.com for details.

WINNIPEG, Oct. 10, 2014 /CNW/ - To coincide with World Mental Health Day, the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace (the Centre) is pleased to announce the creation of a new award category focused on psychological safety in the Canada's Safest Employers Awards, offered by Canadian Occupational Safety.

Canada's Safest Employers Awards recognize Canadian companies that are making a difference in protecting the safety of their workers. The first-ever national Psychological Safety Award, sponsored by the Centre, was created to recognize an employer that is a leader in working towards identifying and reducing or eliminating psychological hazards to employee well-being in the workplace, such as bullying, harassment or chronic pressure.

Nominations for the 2014 awards are closed and winners will be announced at a special gala on October 28, 2014. Details are available at www.safestemployers.com.

With the release of the National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard) in 2013, psychological safety is increasingly being considered alongside physical safety. The Standard defines a psychologically healthy and safe workplace as one that promotes workers' psychological well-being and actively works to prevent harm to worker psychological health including in negligent, reckless or intentional ways.

"This is the first-ever national award that focuses exclusively on mitigating risks to the psychological safety of employees," says Mary Ann Baynton, Program Director for the Centre. "A number of organizations have worked over the last decade to reduce stigma around mental health concerns, but protecting psychological safety is a relatively new area of focus."

In 2012, the Centre commissioned a national Ipsos Reid survey on workplace mental health which found that more than 70 per cent of Canadian employees surveyed reported some degree of concern with psychological health and safety in their workplace, and 30 per cent reporting levels of concern that warrant serious attention.

Fortunately, Baynton says employers are increasingly recognizing the need to identify psychosocial hazards in their work environments and undertake to mitigate these risks to try to ensure their employees do not suffer psychological harm.

"No organization is going to be perfect, so with this award, we celebrate organizations which are pioneering efforts to protect their employees from psychological injury as part of their overall health and safety approach," Baynton adds.

Baynton reminds employers that there are ample resources in the public domain to help them foster psychological health and safety in the workplace, including many tools and resources made available through the Centre at no charge. "An entire section of the Centre's website is devoted to helping employers develop a psychological health and safety management system as suggested by the Standard," she notes.

All of the Centre's tools and resources are available in English and French to anyone, anywhere, and at no charge, on the Centre's website at www.workplacestrategiesformentalhealth.com. The website was recently updated for a fresh, new mobile and tablet-friendly design that is easier to navigate.

About the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace
Established in 2007, the Great-West Life Centre for Mental Health in the Workplace is a leading source of practical ideas, tools and resources designed to help with the prevention, intervention and management of workplace mental health issues.

Focused specifically on the workplace, the Centre is working to increase awareness and understanding, and to help employers take concrete steps to foster a psychologically healthy and safe workplace and manage employee mental health issues.

As part of its ongoing commitment to workplace mental health, the Centre is helping to fund the Mental Health Commission of Canada's three-year research project into the experiences of over 40 organizations across Canada that are currently working towards implementation of the National Standard of Canada on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace, including Great-West Life, London Life and Canada Life. The case studies will ultimately be shared broadly so that all organizations can learn from the experiences of the participating organizations.

Visit the Centre's website at www.workplacestrategiesformentalhealth.com.

Find Great-West Life on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.

SOURCE Great-West Life Assurance Company

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