Information bite 223: Mental Health Awareness Week 2021

As businesses and organisations prepare to adapt to a controlled easing of lockdown restrictions this summer, it seems the pandemic and the prospect of warmer weather have reconnected workers with all the benefits of the office commute.

While bosses and staff alike have missed the human contact, that face-to-face interaction and creative office ‘buzz’, they’ve also hungered for a change of scene, opportunities to shop and socialise, plus the physical and mental benefits that come with cycling and walking into work, including being able to engage more with nature.

Yet because workplaces will continue to be sources of stress and anxiety, the introduction of a new standard to help employers manage psychosocial hazards is also being eagerly awaited this summer. As this week (10th-16th May) is Mental Health Awareness Week this seems like a great time to announce it!

We at M.E.L. (Health & Safety) Consultants look forward to the arrival, this summer, of ISO 45003, the first global standard that will give employers practical guidance on how to manage psychosocial hazards for staff in the workplace. These hazards can cause stress, fatigue and bullying/harassment, for example, which can then lead to serious mental health problems.

According to World Health Organization guidance, psychosocial risk is defined as any risk related to how work is organised and managed – from social factors to aspects of the work environment and hazardous tasks. The assumption is that psychosocial hazards are present in all organisations and sectors, and from all kinds of employment arrangements.

The new guidance is not trying to turn line managers into psychologists. ISO 45003 is not about managing clinical psychological problems.

It’s about how organisations can create a positive psychosocial environment. It’s guidance for designing work in a more preventative way so that psychological ill-health issues do not arise.

Built on ground covered by ISO 45001, which is designed to prevent work-related injury and ill health and to provide safe and healthy workplaces, ISO 45003 defines a psychologically healthy and safe workplace as one that promotes workers’ psychological wellbeing and actively works to prevent harm to psychological health, including in negligent, reckless or intentional ways.

How we can help

Register your interest in the upcoming ISO 45003 standard. Email us at