The Mental Injury Toolkit

October 3, 2017

The Mental Injury Toolkit has been designed by union health and safety representatives from 10 unions and researchers from a variety of centres to help local unions & their health and safety committees focus on identifying and analyzing workplace stressors that can affect mental and physical health.

From the Toolkit: “The Toolkit will provide workers a basic understanding and a place to start to learn about workplace stress and what to do about it. The guide gives definitions, common causes of mental distress, legal frameworks (focusing on Ontario), possible actions to take, and resources available. It is an introduction and action guide created by workers for workers. These tools are not clinical diagnostic tools. They are not meant to diagnose medical or psychological conditions or to be used by a physician to these ends.

These tools are designed to identify problems that may exist within the workplace and provide possible avenues to address them. This resource kit and tools are provided with a focus on the Ontario jurisdiction – workers in other provinces or in federally regulated workplaces should refer to their own legal framework.”

This toolkit could be easily adapted for other jurisdictions and unions should consider using this toolkit as a very concrete, proactive tool for taking on systemic health issues in the workplace.

The Toolkit uses a survey tool:
“The Copenhagen Psychosocial Questionnaire (COPSOQ) is a tool where workers record their exposures to psychosocial hazards and general health outcomes. The questionnaire helps make the link between what psychosocial hazards may be affecting worker health outcomes. The survey has been validated and extensively used in Denmark, Spain, Belgium and Germany. There is reference population data available that allows you to compare the results of your workplace to a representative sample of the Danish working population. The questionnaire contains questions on work environment factors, the personal experience of symptoms, the relationship between work and home life, and conflicts and offensive behaviours.

The purpose of using the survey is to identify which stress factors have been associated with health symptoms so the results can provide a focus for efforts to prevent the stress. Surveys are considered screening tools (early warning system) designed to catch problems before they cause serious psychological and physical health effects.”

With proper training on using the survey tool, local unions & their health and safety committees will have a strong resource in helping them identify and analyze workplace stressors and develop strategies to address them to improve workers’ health.

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