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Understanding and identifying psychosocial risks at work

Now included in the workplace analysis, psychosocial risks are an integral part of the occupational health and safety management processes in place at employers.

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Understanding and identifying psychosocial risks at work

New obligations for Quebec employers

Recently passed by the National Assembly, Bill 59 modernizing the occupational health and safety regime introduces the legal obligation for all employers to manage psychosocial risks (PSR) within their organization. This obligation will come into effect on April 6, 2022.

Now included in the workplace analysis, psychosocial risks are an integral part of the occupational health and safety management processes in place at employers. It is important for them to understand what PSRs are and their potential impact on their employees in order to put in place the means to manage them effectively and efficiently.

A reminder of the definition of psychosocial risks

Psychosocial risks in the workplace are factors related to work organization, management practices, employment conditions and social relations. These factors increase the likelihood of adverse effects on the physical and psychological health of workers.

The main factors are workload, decision-making, autonomy, recognition, social support and psychological harassment.

The impacts of psychosocial risks

On workers

The impacts of PSRs on workers are more significant than one might think. They can develop physical and psychological health problems (anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, cardiovascular diseases, musculoskeletal disorders, substance abuse, etc.), which can lead to work absences. More generally, workers exposed to PSRs also have lower job satisfaction, decreased commitment and reduced productivity.

On organizations

The impact of PSRs can also affect the organization’s finances, for example, with increased costs related to absenteeism, employee turnover, recruitment and training of new workers. It can also affect products and services by reducing their quality, not to mention the direct impact on reputation, profitability and the achievement of organizational objectives.

Understand PSRs and target those present in your organization

In any type of organization, the physical and mental intensity of tasks can have a direct impact on psychosocial risks.

Here are some resources to help you better understand them:

Institut national de santé publique du Québec – INSPQ

– Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

To find out about the PSRs specific to your organization, it is a good idea to launch a confidential survey among your employees or to use the services of a professional OHS risks prevention.


Managing PSR in your organization in an effective and proactive manner

The means used to manage PSRs can be adapted for each organization. Indeed, it is unrealistic to think that an SME with limited financial, material and human resources can implement a management system as developed as a large organization with dedicated resources. Similarly, a manufacturing organization does not have the same concerns as a service company.

However, there are success factors applicable to all to ensure effective and efficient management:

  • Demonstrate commitment and leadership from the management team to ensure success
  • Involve and involve workers in the PSR management process
  • Ensure the confidentiality of the data collected during the PSR analysis and implement appropriate data collection to target needs and priorities
  • Develop an action plan based on the needs and priorities identified
  • Evaluate the actions taken and apply corrective measures (if necessary)
  • Use effective procedures to retain and return workers to work


To learn more about the effective management of psychosocial risks, contact MEDIAL’s professionals who will guide and support you in implementing your approach.

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