Disability Management in the Federal Public Service
The role of prevention is to:
- Promote health, safety and wellness in the workplace;
- Identify and help prevent injury and illness arising from risks and hazards in the workplace;
- Provide support to employees to help prevent threats to health from escalating;
- Provide a psychologically healthy workplace;
- Support early interventions so that employees can remain at work;
- Provide an enabling workplace; and
- Increase and promote training and awareness of disability management.
- Legislative requirements;
- Policies, programs and services;
- Employee awareness;
- Occupational health and safety policies and standards;
- The Employee Assistance Program; and
- Workplace health and safety through:
- Hazard prevention programs;
- Ergonomic standards and adjustments;
- Personal protective equipment;
- Adaptive technology; and
- Preparation for and management of risks to employees' health and productivity.
The Fundamentals - Prevention: Building a Safe and Healthy Work Environment
Prevention includes the following:
- Developing an active workplace well-being strategy;
- Training in maintaining a safe and healthy work environment, both physical and psychological;
- Having a proactive accommodation process in place;
- Encouraging employees to be actively engaged in their own health; and
- A proactive Occupational Health and Safety Program.
- Documented best practices for health and productivity
- Mental health / psychological disorders
- Employers' responsibilities
“A healthy workplace is one in which workers and managers collaborate to use a continual improvement process to protect and promote the health, safety and well-being of all workers and the sustainability of the workplace...”
—Healthy Workplaces: A Model for Action, World Health Organization
The following proactive strategies and resources can help prevent injury and illness, create and maintain a workplace culture of health and wellness, and enhance disability management:
- Be familiar with programs, policies and initiatives designed to build a healthy work culture and promote employee health.
- Occupational Health and Safety Program and policies
- Employee Assistance Program (Specialized Organizational Services (SOS))
- Conflict resolution program
- Employment equity
- Leave policies
- Health benefits and insurance plans
- Collective agreements / terms and conditions of employment
- Harassment policies
- Injury and illness policies
- Value and ethics code
- Accommodation policies
- Read and follow the advice of Elements and Priorities for Working Toward a Psychologically Safer Workplace.
- Remind managers to meet their legal obligation to ensure the health and safety of employees.
- Encourage managers to promote the workplace well-being of employees.
- Actively promote wellness by encouraging employees to maintain healthy lifestyle choices, work-life balance, and awareness of health issues.
- Encourage employees to utilize resources/information for improving their health and well-being.
- Educate employees on resources, including the departmental/agency Employee Assistance Program.
- Engage workplace health and safety committees to ensure that the work environment is monitored to prevent accidents and injuries (as per responsibilities under the Canada Labour Code, Part II).
- The following initiatives and practices can reduce or minimize workplace injuries:
- Hazard prevention programs;
- Reporting hazardous occurrences;
- Ergonomic assessments; and
- Personal protective equipment.
- Ensure that both managers and employees are aware of the procedures to help prevent or minimize injury in emergencies (e.g., natural disasters, bomb threats, and other critical incidents).
- Health Canada: Preparing for and Responding to Workplace Trauma—A Manager's Handbook
- Employee Emergency Response Guide (a Government of Canada publication that is available at all work sites)
- Health Canada: Environmental and Workplace Health—Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Services
- Business continuity plans / disaster recovery plans
- Create and promote a work culture of respect and inclusiveness in which employees feel comfortable discussing challenges and concerns:
- Workplace Strategies for Mental Health: On the Agenda—Civility and Respect
- Canadian Human Rights Commission: A Place for All—A Guide to Creating an Inclusive Workplace
- Canadian Human Rights Commission: Human Rights Maturity Model
- Canadian Human Rights Commission: Duty to Accommodate Fact Sheet
- Canadian Human Rights Commission: Preventing Discrimination
- Workplace employment equity and anti-harassment/bullying policies
- Provide support and opportunities to encourage employee growth and development:
- Personal learning plans (on departmental/agency intranet)
- Work to decrease common causes of stress at work that can threaten mental and physical health:
- Be clear about performance and behavioural expectations:
- Performance management plans/agreements
- Treasury Board Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service
- Work to create the best possible work environment for employees and management by:
- Planning for an inclusive work environment (employment equity policies and programs);
- Managing work demands;
- Assisting employees in effectively managing workload and priorities; and
- Whenever possible, allowing employees flexibility and control around their work and input into decision making.
- Ensure that employees have all the tools, information and equipment needed to do their jobs effectively, and that their skills are aligned with their job requirements:
- Official Languages Act
- Provide rewards and recognition for work well done, both through formal mechanisms and on a regular, informal basis:
- Help employees deal effectively with interpersonal or organizational conflict, including harassment:
- Employment Assistance Program
- Informal conflict management system
- Departmental policy on prevention and resolution of harassment in the workplace
- Treasury Board Policy on Prevention and Resolution of Harassment in the Workplace
- Anti-harassment policies for the workplace
- Psychology Centre—Public Service Commission of Canada
More recommendations and guidance on health and safety can be found on the website of the Labour Program of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. The poster “In Case of Injury at Work” should be available at all places of employment. A copy of If You Have an Accident: What to Do and How to Do It should be provided to all employees, and the pamphlet “Employer's Guide” should be in the hands of all persons responsible for reporting injuries.
For more information refer to section 4.0 - Prevention - Managing for Wellness - Disability Management Handbook for Managers in the Federal Public Service
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