SafeWork NSW has released its Code of Practice for Managing Psychosocial Hazards at Work.
The Code is intended to be used by employers or businesses and provides practical guidance on the processes that can be used to identify and manage psychosocial hazards in the workplace.
Psychosocial hazards have come to the forefront for many people since the emergence of the pandemic. Many people probably do not even realise that they are facing a psychosocial hazard. According to the Health & Safety Handbook, a psychosocial hazards can “extend from the way work is designed, arranged and supervised to hazards such as job uncertainty or exposure to significant trauma as part of the job – can lead to stress and/or a debilitating mental health condition.” Some of the more common psychosocial hazards include role overload (too much work to do with insufficient resources), poor relations between colleagues, bullying, and remote or isolated work.
The new Code, which is the first of its kind, requires all NSW businesses to comply with the steps set out to minimise the risk of employees suffering from psychosocial hazards.
Early 2020 saw the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, forcing many businesses and workers to adapt to new conditions to keep operating in a safe and practical way such as implementing stringent OHS procedures to mitigate the spread of the virus. For many, a newfound reliance on teleworking has provided the opportunities to employees to continue to work in a safe manner. This has been a great saver to the economy and to many jobs, but it has also presented many potential OHS risks, including psychosocial risks and violence in particular.
Under work health and safety (WHS) legislation, an employer must minimise or eliminate the risk to psychological health and safety as much as you reasonably can. This can include reducing workloads, flexible work hours, and zoom calls to check in with staff to help ease the sense of isolation.
For many this Code may require upskilling WHS/HR personnel as well as updating procedures to deal with psychosocial hazards. If you or your business needs assistance you can call us at Total HRM.