The new Managing the risk of psychosocial hazards at work Code of Practice came into effect on 1 April 2023. Understand your role and how to create healthy and safe public sector workplaces.
The Queensland public sector has been and continues to be committed to creating mentally healthy workplaces where people thrive and achieve their best. An important part of this is working together to proactively minimise psychosocial hazards and create healthy work, environments and cultures.
Psychosocial hazards can exist in every workplace, in every industry, every day. If these hazards are not eliminated or managed people can be harmed.
The release of the Managing the risks of psychosocial hazards at work Code of Practice 2022 (the Code) along with amendments to the Work Health and Safety Regulations, are important steps in providing practical guidance on how to prevent harm and keep Queensland workplaces safe, healthy and productive.
The new code and regulations apply to Queensland public sector workplaces and will help provide clarity about your existing obligations under the WH&S Act to ensure psychosocial risks are eliminated or minimised.
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. It can also 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.
You don’t need to be an expert on mental health, but if you are an employer, people manager or leader in the Queensland public sector you do need to manage psychosocial risks in the same way you manage physical health and safety risks. As always consultation and engagement with staff is essential.
Common psychosocial hazards can include:
- high and/or low job demands
- low job control
- poor support
- low role clarity
- poor organisational change management
- low reward and recognition
- poor organisational justice
- poor workplace relationships including interpersonal conflict
- remote or isolated work
- poor environmental conditions
- traumatic events
- violence and aggression
- harassment including sexual harassment.
The new Code provides a range of resources to support its application in your workplace, including case studies, examples of psychosocial hazards and control measures, examples policies and a risk register.
Learn more about the code and resources for HR practitioners, supervisors and managers at WorkSafe.qld.gov.au.
Watch the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland toolbox talk.
Find out more about health, safety and wellbeing in the Queensland public sector.