When it comes to managing mental health and psychosocial hazards within your organisation, there are some obligations under work health and safety law that is of value to understand.
As part of Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) Acts and Regulations across Australia, workplaces have a requirement to protect the health, safety, and welfare of workers and other persons who are at, or come into contact, with a workplace.
This includes psychological health and safety.
A such, there is a responsibility, as far as is reasonably practicable, for businesses to provide safe and healthy places and systems of work, wherever work is performed.
In a nutshell, what this means is that the WHS Act and Regulations requires businesses to take action to prevent or lessen potential risks to the health and safety of workers.
Therefore, specifically and practically from a mental health perspective, businesses have the responsibility to assess and manage risk pertaining to psychological health and safety.
As part of the WHS Acts and Regulations requirement to assess and manage risk pertaining to psychological health and safety, businesses are required, as far as is reasonably practicable, to eliminate or minimise psychosocial hazards.
A psychosocial hazard is a hazard that arises from or relates to the design or management or work, a work environment, plant (e.g. equipment, machinery or appliances or tools) at a workplace, or workplace interactions or behaviours that may cause harm, whether or not is may also cause physical harm.
Some examples of psychosocial hazards are:
– Poor leadership practices and workplace culture
– Poor or no policies and procedures
– Unreasonable role and responsibility expectations
– Inadequate support
– Inappropriate and unreasonable behaviour
– Poor organisational justice (e.g. unfair, inconsistent, or opaque decision making)
– Exposure to bullying, harassment, violence, aggression or discrimination
– Exposure to traumatic events including vicarious and secondary trauma
– Fatigue or burnout
Our 60 minute Mental Health Awareness eLearning training course helps managers better understand psychosocial hazards and their legal obligations. To find out more, book a free consultation with one of our workplace mental health and wellbeing experts today.
For more information see the model Code of Practice: Managing psychosocial hazards at work.
If you or someone you know needs help contact your organisation´s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), your GP or call LifeLine on 13 11 14; Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800; MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978; Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this document is not intended to be legal advice and should not be interpreted as such. Managers and businesses should seek appropriate counsel from relevant HR and legal personnel if they do not feel they have the applied knowledge for lawfully managing mental health issues in the workplace. In addition to the information provided, it is important to be fully aware of all relevant legislations and the requirements in your specific state or territory and your organisations applicable policies and procedures.