Last month, Honan’s Sharon Rutherford, Cameron Clark (Managing Director of risk management consultancy - Verus), and psychologist Heizy Serrels (Centre for Corporate Health) hosted a virtual event about managing psychosocial hazards within the workplace, with a specific focus on the Victorian Occupational Health and Safety Amendment (Psychological Health) Regulations. Here are the key take-aways from the session.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE
Exposure to psychosocial hazards can lead to psychological(and physical) injuries. Not only are psychological injuries typically associated with longer recovery times, more time away from work, and higher costs than physical injuries, data shows that mental health injuries are on the rise. In Victoria, for example, the number of claims for mental injuries increased 20 percent between 2017 and 2019 (Safework Australia, 2021).
Employers can support their employees by understanding their risk exposures and taking action to develop more resilient workplaces.
OHS IN VICTORIA: UPCOMING CHANGES
OHS Legislative changes were due to come into effect on 1 July, 2022 in Victoria to help mitigate the rise in psychosocial injuries and claims through early intervention. While the initial date for introduction has passed, it is expected that the regulations will come into effect later in2022. Broadly, these changes will involve adopting a risk management approach to dealing with psychosocial hazards in the workplace as well as new requirements to document prevention plans and to report information on specific psychological complaints resulting from workplace aggression and violence, sexual harassment, and bullying.
The full changes, including enforcement, are scheduled to come into full effect after 1 September 2023 so there is time to get the foundations right. To do this, workplaces are encouraged to review relevant OHS/WHS management system procedures and resources to ensure they provide enough guidance and instruction to support psychosocial hazard and risk management, incidents, governance, and reporting. Feel free to reach out to Verus or the Centre for Corporate Health for more information (see details below).
The new framework for workplace psychosocial hazard management is similar to those for other workplace risks – i.e., 1. Identify Hazards, 2. Assess Risk, 3. Implement Risk Controls, 4. Monitor and Review Control Measures.
ADDRESSING PSYCHOSOCIAL HAZARDS AT WORK
Here are some key ways to identify and manage psychosocial hazards in the workplace:
- Use existing data in your organisation to identify ‘hotspots’ or warning signs of psychosocial hazards. Identifying your organisation’s top 3 risks is a great start. Don’t miss the webinar recording for an in-depth case study example (see webinar link below).
- Remember that the symptom is often not the cause of the hazard. Identifying your 'hot spots' allows you to deep dive into areas of concern and address their root causes.
- Upskill your leaders about psychological safety and the building blocks of resilient teams – change starts at the top.
WITH YOU ALL THE WAY
If you missed the webinar, you can view the recording here. Access Passcode: .Zwm9?zu
Please feel free to reach out to the presenters to discuss your organisations needs.
Managing Director - Verus Australia
National Manager- Learning and Wellbeing Culture | Senior Psychologist
Centre for Corporate Health
Head of Risk Consulting - Honan Insurance