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Tips for minimising psychosocial risks in the workplace

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read

Psychosocial risk management is crucial to maintaining a healthy and productive workplace.


Unaddressed issues not only negatively impact workplaces but, according to Rehab Management, also cost the economy an enormous amount of money.

Workplace stress reportedly costs the Australian economy $14.81 billion per year in lost productivity and compensation claims.

Renee Thornton, chief executive of Rehab Management, said recent government intervention is an important step towards mitigating issues: “With the recent introduction of updated Work Health and Safety Regulations, it’s more important than ever for employers to understand how to identify and manage psychosocial hazards.”

“A mentally healthy workplace is one that addresses psychosocial hazards and supports the recovery of workers returning to work after a physical or psychological injury.”

The Work Health and Safety Amendment (Managing Psychosocial Risk and Other Measures) Regulations 2022, introduced at the end of last year, has been a worthwhile addition to protecting employees’ wellbeing.

The legislation provides employers with guidelines on how to properly mitigate psychosocial risks and grants employees protection from being exploited.

However, organisations should still be doing their part to manage these hazards. Rehab Management listed six ways to protect workplaces from issues:

  1. Conduct regular risk assessments: Employers should identify and assess the psychosocial hazards that exist in their workplace – and look at psychosocial risk in the same way they have historically focused on physical safety risks. This can be achieved by conducting regular risk assessments that include the evaluation of workload, communication, support, relationships and other psychosocial factors that could affect employee wellbeing. Risk assessments should be performed in consultation with employees and their representatives, and their feedback should be taken into account when developing strategies to mitigate identified risks.
  2. Develop clear policies and procedures: Employers should have clear policies and procedures in place to manage psychosocial hazards in the workplace. These policies should cover issues such as bullying and harassment, stress management, and workplace conflict resolution. The policies should be communicated to all employees and easily accessible.
  3. Provide training and education: Employers should provide training and education to their employees on how to manage psychosocial hazards and injuries in the workplace. This can include stress management techniques, conflict resolution skills, and communication skills.
  4. Foster a positive work culture: Employers should foster a positive work culture that promotes open communication, mutual respect, and support. This can be achieved through regular feedback, recognition of employee achievements, and employee wellness programs.
  5. Encourage early reporting and intervention: Employers should encourage employees to report any psychosocial hazards or injuries as soon as possible and intervene early to address any issues before they escalate. This can include providing support to employees who are experiencing workplace stress or conflict or offering accommodations to employees with physical or psychological limitations.
  6. Foster a culture of safety: Employers should develop a strong safety culture within their organisation by implementing policies and procedures that prioritise employee health and safety. This can include regular safety training and communication, hazard assessments, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation of workplace hazards.

Protecting employees from these risks is important, especially considering the lack of awareness around the issue.

Those with psychological injury are far less likely to be treated fairly compared to physical injury. Rehab Management revealed in a survey that of employees who made a claim, 59 per cent of those with a physical injury reported being contacted by their employer about their injury. Meanwhile, just 33 per cent of those with a psychological injury reported the same level of contact.

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.