The Work Health and Safety (General) Regulations (2022) identifies the need to recognise psychosocial hazards in the workplace and implement control measures.
Psychosocial hazards are aspects of work which have the potential to cause psychological or physical harm. Protecting workers from psychosocial hazards is now recognised as being of equal importance to protecting them from physical hazards.
Psychosocial hazards can be caused by organisational (e.g. poor work organisation by management, poor workplace culture) and environmental factors (e.g. noise, temperature).
Common workplace psychosocial hazards
- Poor organisational management (job demands that are too high or too low)
- Traumatic events or material
- Remote or isolated work
- Poor physical environment
- Violence and aggression
- Bullying and harassment (including sexual harassment)
- Workplace conflict and/or poor workplace relationships and interactions
How to manage and control workplace psychosocial hazards
If you are a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU), you have the responsibility to ensure you are providing a safe and healthy working environment for your workers.
It is the responsibility of the PCBU to manage and control these risks as far as is reasonably practicable.
This can be achieved by implementing a communication and consultation risk management approach, which includes:
- Identifying the potential and existing psychosocial hazards and risk factors in your workplace.
- Assessing these risks.
- Controlling these risks by making the changes necessary to eliminate the hazards or risk factors or, if not reasonably practicable, minimising the risk of harm.
- Regularly monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of these controls and adapting them where necessary.
- Providing support to employees, internally via an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or providing details of other external agencies such as Beyond Blue.
What is 'reasonably practicable'?
Keep in mind that the standard of ‘reasonably practicable’ in workplace health and safety only applies to a PCBU. Other workers may be required to meet different standards. For example, officers must exercise ‘due diligence’, while workers and others at a workplace must take ‘reasonable care’. More information on how to determine what is reasonably practicable to meet a health and safety duty is available here.
If you have any questions about how to identify and control psychosocial risks in your workplace, please contact NECA Safety on (08) 6241 6100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Code of Practice – Psychosocial hazards in the workplace
Code of Practice - Workplace Behaviour
Code of Practice - Violence and Aggression at Work
Interpretive Guideline – How to determine what is reasonably practicable to meet a health and safety duty
Work Health and Safety (General) Regulations 2022
Mental Health Helplines