Did you know that work-related mental injuries now make up 15.1% of all new claims and they are on track to grow to one third of all new claims by the end of the decade (read more here). This will cost both government and employers a significant amount of money, not to mention the stress it places on families, which is why the government is amending the Occupational Health and Safety Act and introducing new Psychological Health Regulations (read more).

What does this mean for employers?

Psychological Health is no different to any other health issue in the workplace where employers are required to, so far as is reasonably practicable, provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risks to health.

These new Regulations will simply set out how employers need to discharge these obligations which will involve identifying and controlling psychosocial hazards.

Psychosocial hazards will be defined as:

“any factor or factors in the work design, systems of work, management of work, carrying out of work or personal or work-related interactions that may arise in the working environment and may cause an employee to experience one or more negative psychological responses that create a risk to their health and safety”

Simply put, examples of psychological hazards employers must address include:

  • Bullying
  • Sexual Harassment
  • Aggression or violence
  • Exposure to traumatic events or content
  • High or low job demands
  • Low job control
  • Poor support
  • Poor organisational justice
  • Low role clarity
  • Poor environmental conditions
  • Remote or isolated work
  • Poor organisational change management
  • Low recognition and reward
  • Poor workplace relationships

Written prevention plans

If employers identify one or more of these psychosocial hazards, they must implement a written prevention plan that identifies the risk and the methods used to reduce the risk and includes a plan on how the controls will be implemented.

Reportable psychosocial complaints

In addition to this it is proposed that employers report to WorkSafe for two periods 1 Jan – 30 June and 1 July – 31 Dec with information about each reportable psychosocial complaint (defined as complaints involving aggression or violence, bullying or sexual harassment) the employer received during the reporting period without identifying people involved in the complaint.

Tips for identifying and controlling hazards in the workplace

  1. Ensure you have a method for identifying psychosocial hazards in the workplace (click here for an example)
  2. Provide a mechanism such a risk register for hazards to be easily reported, tracked and closed out (click here to download a useful template)
  3.  Ensure you have sound Psychological Health polices and procedures in place
  4. Make sure everyone is inducted in your Psychological Health polices and proceduresThere are some great resources to help employers implement and maintain healthy psychosocial environments which will not only save the business money in relation to possible claims but will also make the workplace more productive.

    If you need assistance developing and implementing policies, procedures and training management and staff do not hesitate to contact us.