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A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) in NSW has additional work health and safety responsibilities in relation to managing psychosocial risks in the workplace.
“Psychosocial risks” are defined as risks caused by hazards which:
Common psychosocial hazards at work include:
PCBUs must as with any other Work Health and Safety (WHS) duty:
It is not enough for PCBUs to have a workplace policy on mental health, or to only take action in response to psychosocial injuries after they occur, the changes require a more proactive approach to the identification and management of mental health risks in the workplace.
When deciding what control measures to implement, a PCBU must consider all relevant matters, such as:
For further information on control measures, you can access the Code of Practice: Managing Psychosocial Hazards at Work which identifies psychosocial hazards, amongst other things consideration of social factors at work, workplace relationships and social interactions that may cause psychological stress. The Code also emphasises that persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) and other duty holders have the responsibility to manage these psychosocial hazards at work.
Businesses who already have detailed WHS policies and procedures are on the right track. However, all businesses should update their policies to specifically address mental health or psychosocial risk.
PCBUs should conduct a risk assessment of the workplace and review whether their current risk control measures are adequate to control psychosocial hazards.
PCBUs may also need to undertake courses to be better equipped and have capacity to deal with such sensitive matters.
Failure to comply may be a breach of the primary duty of care which can carry significant penalties.
SafeWork NSW has prepared information and tools to help PCBUs understand and implement the requirements of this new duty:
HIA also provides a range of tools, resources, and services to help build mentally healthy environments.