Experiencing “Labour Pains”? Retention Tip #9

Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace

In response to the recent announcement by the Worker’s Compensation Board of Nova Scotia, I have agreed to make the focus of the next few articles to cover the topic of Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace.

I am not an expert in this area but combined with my own knowledge and information available from those who are, I will share the information with you in hopes that it will provide a bit more understanding on this topic as I do feel that this is a very important subject and one that deserves some attention.

Beginning in September 2024, Nova Scotia becomes the first Atlantic Canadian province to make gradual onset stress a compensable workplace injury.

The supporting policy for the legislation is in circulation through the consultation process. While it is not yet final, that draft policy includes:

§  The worker must have a diagnosed psychological injury.

§  The worker’s injury must be caused by a significant work-related stressor.

§  The psychological injury must be predominantly (at least 51%) caused by said significant work-related stressor.


The revised Act does not cover mental stress caused by interpersonal conflicts (except for workplace harassment or bullying). It also doesn’t cover actions or decisions of the employer relating to the worker’s employment.

Across the province, we’ve seen attitudes towards safety shifting. More fishermen use PFDs, more health care workers use proper lifts, and more conversations are being had around injury prevention. However, Nova Scotia is facing challenges when it comes to psychological health and safety in the workplace.

An important issue for Nova Scotia.


A workplace that is psychologically healthy and safe will respect and listen to workers, act on their concerns, and provide opportunities for workers to have some control over their work. This often results in fewer work-related injuries and illnesses, less time loss and shorter time off work when injuries and illnesses occur, less absenteeism, and more productive and engaged workers.

Creating psychologically healthy and safe workplaces in Nova Scotia

Knowing the psychosocial factors that impact an employees psychological response to work and work conditions that can lead to psychological health problems is a first step in fostering a mentally healthy workplace. As defined by Guarding Minds at Work, there are 13 psychosocial factors as follows:

§  Organizational culture

§  Clear leadership and expectations

§  Civility and respect

§  Psychological job demands

§  Growth and development

§  Recognition and reward

§  Involvement and influence

§  Workload management

§  Engagement

§  Work/life balance

§  Psychological protection from violence, bullying and harassment

§  Protection of physical safety

§  Protection of psychological safety


This information was taken directly from the Worker’s Compensation Board of Nova Scotia Website.

Next month I will provide more information regarding this topic but in the meantime, if you’d like to have a chat about it, please feel free to reach out.

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Tracy Isenor

Employer Engagement Specialist