Psychological Wellbeing and Safety in a Global Context: A Rapid Evidence Assessment

S Brown, D Dahill, E Karakilic, D King, P Misha, S Pirrioni, H Shipton, Priyanka Vedi

Research output: Book/ReportOther reportpeer-review


Psychological wellbeing is a key dimension which impacts on the productivity and work experiences of employees within safety-critical sectors. This rapid evidence assessment has reviewed the academic and grey literature globally to establish key factors that impact on mental health across five sectors responsible for critical social and economic infrastructure – maritime/energy; construction; engineering; food and digital. Structural factors in the organization of workplaces and safety practices impact upon the psychological wellbeing of employees and are in turn affected by the emotional and behavioural consequences and diminished psychological wellbeing. The Power Threat Meaning Framework (PTMF) provides a way of modelling this relationship that avoids some of the difficulties inherent in global approaches to mental health.

The evidence clearly shows that psychosocial factors play a central role in mediating the relationship between structural aspects of the working environment and psychological wellbeing. Whilst there is wide variability in the efficacy of interventions attempted across the sectors explored, in general, strategies which employ a holistic approach to psychological wellbeing generally demonstrate better outcomes. On the basis of the available evidence, we recommend that interventions proceed by identifying and modelling the specific configuration of psychosocial factors within a given sector or organization. We further recommend that participation in interventions is facilitated collaboratively, and designed across all levels within the organization.

The 4th Industrial Revolution offers many challenges to all the sectors explored and is generally considered in terms of the direct and indirect threats it poses to psychological wellbeing through exacerbating existing workplace inequalities. However, technological changes also offer innovative means through which mental health may be monitored. The evidence base also provides some key lessons for the transitions every sector will have to make during and in recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNottingham, UK
PublisherNottingham Trent University
Number of pages52
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


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