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Psychosocial Risks in the Workplace: What Are They and How to Address Them

As pockets of stress begin to grow in our everyday lives, it is important to reflect on how it impacts our workplaces, specifically the people within them.

Psychosocial risks are factors in the workplace that can negatively impact employees’ mental health and well-being. They include things like high workload, poor job design, low job control, workplace harassment, and discrimination.

Why is this important?

Psychosocial risks have significant impacts on both employees and organisations. For employees, exposure to psychosocial risks can lead to poor mental and physical health outcomes, reduced job satisfaction and performance. For organisations, the costs of psychosocial risks can include reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, and increased staff turnover.

Recent law changes in NSW

On the 1st of October 2022, NSW amended the WHS laws introducing a positive duty for employers to manage and minimise psychosocial risks in the workplace The new laws require employers to identify and manage psychosocial risks, just like they would physical risks, meaning that employers must take active steps to prevent and reduce psychosocial risks in the workplace. 

Here are some tips to help reduce psychosocial risks in the workplace:

1. Be proactive: Implement effective control measures reduce or eliminate these psychosocial risks. This could include things like providing training and support to employees, improving job design, increasing job control, and addressing workplace harassment and discrimination.

2. Foster a positive workplace culture: Create a workplace culture that supports positive mental health outcomes for employees. This could include things like promoting work-life balance, encouraging open communication, and providing opportunities for professional development.

3. Monitor and review: Regularly monitor and review the effectiveness of your control measures and make adjustments as necessary. This can help ensure that you are effectively managing psychosocial risks in the workplace.

Psychosocial risks are an important issue in the workplace that can have a significant impact on employees’ mental and physical health and it vital organisations take proactive steps to eliminate or reduce these hazards. By taking steps to identify and manage these risks, employers can create a safer and healthier workplace for their employees.

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