Mental (psychological) health, just like physical health, is an important part of work health and safety (WHS).
Recognising and managing risks in the workplace that may lead to physical or psychological injury is an essential part of creating a safe, healthy and productive workplace.
Employers and PCBUs have a legal responsibility to manage hazards and risks in the workplace. The how to manage work health and safety risks code of practice provides guidance on risk management for physical and psychological hazards as the WHS Act defines health as both physical and psychological. For specific guidance on risk management for psychological hazards refer to the SafeWork Australia guide for work-related psychological health, a systematic guide to meeting your duties.
The below two-part video assist businesses to build a psychologically healthy and safe workplace using the SafeWork Australia guide.
Part one: Prevention
Part two: Early intervention
People at Work free tool
People at Work is a psychosocial risk assessment process. It is Australia’s only validated and evidence based psychosocial risk assessment survey tool with benchmarking that measures psychosocial hazards and factors.
People at Work can help you comply with your health and safety duties, better manage work-related psychosocial hazards and factors and prevent psychological harm.
Organisations that undertake People at Work will have access to:
- the People at Work survey, a psychosocial risk assessment tool that is now available digitally to Australian organisations at no cost
- all materials required to administer and report on the People at Work survey, including access to automated and customised reports, interactive learning modules and resources to assist in implementing a psychosocial risk management approach and evaluating the effectiveness of chosen interventions.
Australian work health and safety regulators have jointly funded People at Work to provide free tools and resources. The hazards measured by the People at Work survey are based on decades of research highlighting the factors that influence a worker’s psychological health and safety. The psychosocial hazards are also based on guidance from Safe Work Australia.
Workplaces that participate will learn about their unique risk factors for work-related psychological injury, which are highlighted through the risk assessment process. A comprehensive report outlining these unique risk factors is generated, allowing workplaces to tailor their risk control plans and ensure suitable controls are in place where they are most needed.
Send a clear message to workers that you value their mental health and wellbeing and reap the benefits of reduced workers’ compensation claims and improved worker productivity, satisfaction and engagement.
Learn more about how People at Work can help at https://www.peopleatwork.gov.au/
There are many benefits to having a mentally healthy workplace and these extend to workers, the business and the wider community. When a business is proactive and prevention focused they can see a return on investment for every dollar spent to improve mental health at work.
Mentally healthy workplaces encourage prevention of mental ill-health or illness by assessing the workplace and work practices for risk factors in consultation with their workers. Mentally healthy workplaces will also consider mitigating factors for all workers (including for example injured workers or workers who have disclosed mental illness to the workplace) to be able to connect workers with early support and assist their recovery at work. Some workplace risk factors include (but are not limited to):
Mentally healthy workplaces can also provide workers with many benefits such as confidence, a feeling of belonging, financial security, a sense of purpose, achievement and social connections and networks. These benefits can flow back into the business in many ways including increased productivity, reduced injuries and positive workplace culture.
A mentally healthy workplace has the following principles and behaviours:
- mental health is everyone’s responsibility and is led by business leaders
- mental health is considered in every way you do business
- everyone contributes to a culture where people feel safe and supported to talk about mental health
- mental health support is tailored for individuals and teams
- everyone can see you're finding better ways to support worker mental health.
To find out how to create a mentally healthy workplace please visit thewebsite or use the resources below.
The NSW Mentally healthy workplaces strategy 2018-2022 sets out a long-term vision to create mentally healthy workplaces across NSW.
The stress tip sheets provide information on managing the organisational risk factors known to contribute to the risk of psychological injury.
The following organisations provide crisis support and assistance:
- Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511
- Lifeline 13 11 14
- beyondblue 1300 22 4636
- Headspace 1800 650 890
- Mensline 1300 789 978
- Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467