Psychosocial Health

Psychosocial health is an essential component of a safe and healthy workplace.

What is psychosocial health?

Psychological health is the fastest growing workers compensation claims area in Australia and is starting to cost businesses significant amounts of money.

Psychosocial health is an amalgamation of elements and includes a person’s mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health.

Most State governments have introduced new Psychological Health Regulations or Codes of Practice which impose a positive duty of care on employers/Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU’s). Therefore, it’s more important than ever for businesses to identify and mitigate psychosocial health and safety risks at work.

How psychosocial health risks cause harm

Psychosocial health hazards in the workplace can cause harm to employees in a variety of ways. These types of risk factors may lead to increased stress and mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. In turn, this can lead to long-term psychological and physical harm, as well as an increased risk of a range of workplace accidents. Managing psychosocial hazards in the workplace is of utmost importance.

Psychosocial hazards in the workplace

Psychosocial hazards can 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.

One of the main duties for the employer is to have a mechanism to identify psychosocial health hazards in the workplace. Common risk factors 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

The Queensland Government has developed a useful risk assessment Tool that can be found here which can be used to kick off the process.

Your obligation as an employer

The new legislation means that employers/PCBUs can be fined for not proactively addressing Psychosocial Health in their workplace such as having policies, procedures, and training in place. Therefore, it’s essential to have correct frameworks in place for identifying, managing, and eliminating psychosocial health risks at work.

Your obligation includes identifying existing and reasonably foreseeable hazards that could present a psychosocial health and safety risk. You also hold the main responsibility for introducing control methods to eliminate risks and protect employees from harm. Maintenance and regular reviewing of these methods is also a must.

Looking for advice on psychosocial health in the workplace? Get in touch with us today for a consultation with one of our workplace safety experts.

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