26 September 2023

PS employees take lead at health place

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The Workplace Health and Safety Agency has reminded public sector employers and employees that the Code of Practice, Managing the Risk of Psychosocial Hazards at Work, was now in effect.

In a statement, the Agency said the State’s public sector had been and continued to be committed to creating mentally healthy workplaces where people thrived and achieved their best.

“An important part of this is working together to proactively minimise psychosocial hazards and create healthy work environments and cultures,” the Agency said.

“Psychosocial hazards can exist in every workplace, in every industry, every day. If these hazards are not eliminated or managed people can be harmed.”

It said the release of the Code of Practice, along with amendments to the Work Health and Safety Regulations, were important steps in providing practical guidance on how to prevent harm and keep workplaces safe, healthy and productive.

“The new code and regulations apply to public sector workplaces and will help provide clarity about existing obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act to ensure psychosocial risks are eliminated or minimised,” the Agency said.

“The harm created by psychosocial hazards varies, and the effects are not always obvious — it can be a single event involving one or more risks, such as exposure to a traumatic event.

“Or it could be a combination of risks that accumulate to create frequent, prolonged or severe stress responses, such as organisational change with poor supervisor support and low role clarity.”

It said that while public sector leaders did not have to be mental health experts, they did need to manage psychosocial risks in the same way they managed physical health and safety risks.

“As always, consultation and engagement with staff is essential.”

The 67-page Code of Practice can be accessed at this PS News link.

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