Psychosocial Factors, MSD and Mental Health

Psychosocial Factors in the Workplace Influence Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD) and Mental Health

Workplace psychosocial factors are cultural, social and psychological factors determined at or by the workplace that impact employees’ responses to work and their work environment, which can result in negative mental health outcomes and increase the risk of MSD.

Understand the associations between work-related psychosocial factors and physical MSD hazards:

  • Psychosocial factors can create stress responses, which could affect exposure to physical MSD hazards, and vice versa
  • Presence of MSD hazards in the workplace can negatively impact physical and mental health
  • Causal relationships are unclear between physical and psychosocial factors

Did you know?

  1. Psychosocial factors affect employees’ perception of their work. These factors are within the influence and responsibility of employers and can impact the health and safety of employees.
  2. Physical MSD hazards in the workplace and how work is organized can greatly increase a person’s chance of developing an MSD. It is the responsibility of employers to control MSD hazards to protect workers.
Flow chart from  Psychosocial Factors, MSD and Mental Health poster

Building Alignment Contributes to Effective Programs

The MSD Prevention Guideline for Ontario and the Canadian Standard for Psychological Health and Safety share many overlapping factors as illustrated below:

  • These commonalities demonstrate the importance of employers working to improve psychosocial factors in the workplace
  • Focus on improving psychosocial factors can positively impact physical and mental health, job satisfaction, performance and productivity
  • Learn more about workplace psychosocial factors from the Mental Health Commission of Canada
Table from Psychosocial Factors, MSD and Mental Health


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Psychosocial Factors, MSD and Mental Health Poster Resource (2 page PDF)