The Psychological Health and Safety Index (PHSI-S) measures a person's perception of his/her psychological health and safety as it pertains to six dimensions:
The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (CAN/CSA-Z1003-13/BNQ 9700-803/2018) defines psychological health as 'a state of complete physical, social, and mental well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity; a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community'
The same standard defines psychological safety as 'the absence of harm and/or threat of harm to mental well-being that a worker might experience' and states that a psychologically healthy and safe workplace is 'a workplace that promotes workers' psychological well-being and actively works to prevent harm to worker psychological health including in negligent, reckless, or intentional ways'
The Psychological Health and Safety Index (PHSI-S) is a reflection of an organisation's employees' experience and perception of the six psychological health and safety dimensions in the workplace.
This dimension refers to work-related hazards of a psychological and psychosocial nature, and the severity of injury and ill-health that can be caused by these hazards, inclusive of psychological injury, such as depression, suicidal ideation, psychosomatic and physical health reactions (hypertension, migraines). Hazards of a psychological and psychosocial nature include aspects of work organization, social factors at work, work environment, equipment and hazardous tasks (ISO 45001).
This dimension refers to psychological health, which is defined as 'a state of well-being in which an individual realises his/her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her/his community' (World Health Organisation). Psychological/mental health is also often expressed as the absence of psychological symptomology, such as, depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, and others. Employees suffering from psychological ill-health, are often present at work, yet do not fully contribute to productivity as they are often 'mentally absent', e.g. experience low concentration levels and lack of confidence to execute tasks. Psychological ill-health can be caused by workplace psychological hazards and/or originate from situations outside the workplace, including but not limited to, relationship strife, financial difficulties, and societal disturbances.
The causes of physical health problems may be physiological, biological and genetical. Physical health problems could also be caused by psycho-social causes, such as stress and fear. The adverse effects of physical health on the psychological wellness of an employee are well documented in research literature, and include lowered concentration levels, presenteeism, self-depreciation, and the like. These, in turn, affect psychological safety directly, and could lead to increased work-related accidents, interpersonal conflict, and decreased productivity.
Psychological stress is defined as 'a particular relationship between the person and the environment that is appraised by the person as taxing or exceeding his or her resources and endangering his or her well-being'.
Burnout is a psychological syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalisation (mental distance), and reduced personal/professional accomplishments, in which the person has no positive feelings, sympathy, or respect for their job. Burnout occurs as a result of prolonged response to chronic stressors in the workplace. It has a wide range of psychological, physical, and behavioural problems which will not only have a negative impact on an individual's work-life but also their personal life.
Fatigue is a state of unrelenting exhaustion, lasts longer than mere acute tiredness, is more profound and isn't relieved by rest. It's a nearly constant state of weariness that develops over time and reduces a person's energy, motivation and concentration. Fatigue at this level impacts a person's emotional and psychological well-being. Occupational fatigue can be caused by chronic stress states, physical over exertion, ill health, lifestyle choices, such as alcoholism, obesity, and the like. These causes could also be situated outside of work parameters, yet cause fatigue in the employee, for example, interrupted sleeping habits, relational difficulties, and financial distress.
Work-life-balance refers to a state of equilibrium between the demands that are placed on an individual from a work perspective and a personal life perspective. Individuals who report low levels of work-life-balance (i.e. have conflict between their work demands and personal life demands) are up to 12 times more prone to experience burnout and two to three times more likely to experience depression, compared to those individuals with better work-life balance. (World Health Organization: WHO Healthy Workplace Framework and Model).
Coping capability refers to various personal abilities and perceptions which will allow the person to either cope with difficult situations and to manage them effectively and efficiently, or not. Some people use humour, have confidence to assert themselves positively during conflict, exhibit resilience when workload increases, show 'bounce back ability' if adversity happens, have strong interpersonal support systems, apply high levels of EQ, don't get upset easily, understand others, etc. These behaviours, and many more, assist employees to cope with life and work. The opposite is also true.
PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH AND SAFETY INDEX (PHSI)
The PHSI is the composite of the equally weighted six psychological health and safety factors measured in this survey. This composite should be interpreted together with the individual factors assessed. For example, the PHSI might present favourable, yet one or two of the individual factors, such as, stress-fatigue-burnout, might present less favourable. Managers should then focus on the less optimal factor, do further root cause analysis, and implement improvement practices.
Absenteeism-Presenteeism Risk Indicator (APRI)
The Absenteeism-Presenteeism Risk Indicator is determined by calculating the inverse of the PHSI. It indicates the risk that employees, due to adverse psychological health and safety factors prevalent in the organisation, will either excessively be absent and/or behave with presenteeism, that is attend work whilst unwell, hence not contributing productively and cost optimally to the tasks they are assigned. The APRI needs to be factored into the calculation of the cost of absenteeism-presenteeism in an organisation.
Psychological Hazards-Safety Risk Indicator
The Psychological Hazards-Safety Risk Indicator is the risk associated with high levels of psychological hazards and mentally unsafe working environments. These hazards and environments could include excessive workload, unsafe physical work conditions, autocratic management practices, toxic cultural environment, workplace bullying, job insecurity, various types of harassment, physical and interpersonal violence, unfair remuneration practices, and the like.
Psychological Health Risk Indicator
The Psychological Health Risk Indicator is the risk that psychological ill-health, such as depression among employees can affect productivity, and increase absenteeism, presenteeism, and employee turnover and replacement. The cost of this risk factor is mostly 'invisible' and not calculated/taken into consideration when determining possible absenteeism-presenteeism and employee turnover and replacement costs and trends.
Physical Health Risk Indicator
The Physical Health Risk Indicator refers to the absence of health, such as, chronic and recurring minor physical illness. This risk factor has a direct impact on employee costs, such as, temporary staff appointments. It also has indirect/opportunity costs implications, including extra workload burden on team members and supervisors, which may cause errors in work, and re-working. This may, in turn, generate other direct costs, such as overtime. Organisations should include this riks factor when calculating direct employee costs, as well as absenteeism-presenteeism costs.
Stress-Burnout-Fatigue Risk Indicator
The Stress-Burnout-Fatigue Risk Indicator measures the risk associated with employees' unproductive management of stress, leading to fatigue and burnout. This risk factor also directly feeds into the absenteeism-presenteeism risk factor, and should therefore be take into account when calculating these costs.
Work-Life-Balance Risk Indicator
The Work-Life-Balance Risk Indicator is the risk associated with work-life imbalance, and has a direct impact on employee functioning. Individuals who report low levels of work-life-balance (i.e. have conflict between their work demands and personal life demands) are up to 12 times more prone to experience burnout and two to three times more likely to experience depression, compared to those individuals with better work-life balance.
Coping Capability Risk Indicator
The Coping Capability Risk Indicator is the risk associated with employees' inability to cope with e.g. work-related pressures; life problems; personal adversities. In many cases, employees utilise unproductive coping mechanisms, such as, excessive alcohol usage, violence, avoidance, and disengagement from work. These all eventually add to employee costs, whether direct or indirect. This risk factor has a direct bearing on absenteeism-presenteeism, employee turnover and replacement costs.