top of page

Psychosocial Hazards: What You Need To Know

Earlier this year, a new Code of Practice was introduced in Australia: Managing psychosocial hazards at work. Employers now have a greater responsibility for ensuring the psychological well-being of their employees at work.

Although this Code is not legislation, it serves as a reference, outlining what employers should be mindful of regarding workplace factors that could negatively impact their staff's mental health.

Let's dive into what this means for you and how you can manage these hazards.

What Are Psychosocial Hazards?

Psychosocial risks include various workplace factors that can impact your employees' well-being and emotions.

For example:

  • Job demands

  • Low job control

  • Poor support

  • Lack of role clarity

  • Poor business change management

  • Inadequate reward and recognition

  • Traumatic event

  • Remote or isolated work

  • Bullying

  • Harassment, including sexual harassment

  • Workplace conflict

  • etc.

Psychosocial risks can harm both the mind (anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, etc) and body (musculoskeletal injury, chronic disease, and other physical injuries).

Typically, injuries related to mental health at work take longer to recover from, cost more, and result in more time off work.

Managing these risks not only ensures the safety of employees but also mitigates the potential difficulties associated with high employee turnover and absenteeism, and improves overall business efficiency and productivity.

Psychosocial hazards refer to aspects of work design, the work itself and the interactions between employees which can impact their mental health and emotional well-being.

So What Should I Do First?

Start with conducting a risk assessment to understand what are the potential psychosocial risks in your workplace.

You can use the government "People at Work" tool to do this.

Once you have identified and assessed the psychosocial risks, you need to work out effective strategies that can help you create a healthier work environment for your employees.

For example:

  1. Establishing clear communication channels and regular check-ins

  2. Organising stress management workshops

  3. Implementing conflict resolution policies and procedures

  4. Conducting regular performance reviews with a focus on well-being

  5. Providing training on bullying and harassment

  6. Offering flexible work arrangements and support for work-life balance

  7. Encouraging team-building activities and fostering a sense of community

  8. Creating an open-door policy for discussing workplace concerns and issues

Compliance and Consequences

Don't underestimate the significance of the new Code of Practice. I see many clients who do not take it seriously and end up facing significant challenges.

For instance, one business I collaborated with failed to promptly address workplace bullying, resulting in a toxic work environment and a surge in employee turnover. Additionally, another business didn't realise the detrimental impact of extended work hours, leading to heightened stress levels and employee burnout. Lastly, a different business neglected the importance of providing sufficient support and recognition, consequently leading to decreased employee morale and overall productivity.

Ignoring psychosocial risks can have significant repercussions, not just in terms of employee well-being but also legally and financially. Non-compliance may result in penalties, legal consequences, and damaged reputation, affecting your business's bottom line.

In severe situations, not following the advice outlined in the Code could lead to legal action under safety regulations, carrying the risk of substantial fines and even imprisonment for senior staff.

Embracing the recommendations of the Code of Practice not only safeguards your employees' mental health but also protects your business from potential legal and financial implications. Remember, a mentally healthy workforce is a key asset to your company's success.

Stay tuned for more HR tips and subscribe


The content provided on this website serves as a general information resource on the subjects discussed, and should not be considered tailored to specific individual circumstances or a replacement for legal counsel. While we exert significant effort to ensure the accuracy of our information, HR Consulting TAS cannot ensure that all content on this website is consistently accurate, exhaustive, or current. Recommendations by HR Consulting TAS and any information acquired from this website should not be regarded as legal advice.

29 views0 comments


bottom of page