How will the new WHS laws on managing psychosocial risks affect your business? On 6 June 2022, Safe Work Australia announced a range of amendments to the model WHS laws. One key amendment that will have an impact on your business is the express obligation on the Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) to manage psychosocial risks in accordance with risk management principles. It’s no surprise this amendment to WHS laws has been made. In 2019 Deloitte reported workplace mental ill health as costing the economy $12.8 billion dollars per annum. Allianz Insurance reported in 2020 that workers compensation claims costs relating to mental health had increased by 80% at a cost of $543 million dollars. In 2021 the Australian Institute’s Centre for Future Work put the cost to the economy at $17.4 billion dollars per annum with between 15 and 45% of mental illness attributed to workplace factors and stressors. The new model WHS Regulations provide a broad definition of a psychosocial hazard. It includes any hazard that:
  • arises from or relates to the design or management of work, a work environment, plant at a workplace, or workplace interactions or behaviours
  • may cause psychological harm (whether or not it may also cause physical harm).
  Psychosocial risk is defined as any risk to the health or safety of a worker or other person arising from a psychosocial hazard. What does your business need to do now? Each state and territory are now moving forward to either adopt the model WHS law or adopt the amendments through their state laws. Business’s will lawfully be required to proactively identify psychosocial hazards and implement changes to eliminate or if not possible, minimise the risk of harm. These will include a requirement that your business implements controls such as:
  • installing physical barriers to control the risk of violence in the workplace
  • having systems in place, including appropriate rostering and practical support, to ensure that employees are not overworked
  • implementing policies and procedures to monitor workplace behaviour (i.e. an organisational code of conduct)
  • monitoring employees who are exposed to traumatic events in the course of their duties
  • training workers about how to report and respond if a problem or risk arises
  • regularly consulting with workers regarding risks to psychological health and reviewing the controls used to mitigate these risks
  Get ahead start by implementing a Mental Health and Well Being Risk Management policy, conducting a risk assessment for your business and making sure you consult with and provide training and instruction to your workers. Need help getting started? Contact Business 360 for assistance in developing and implementing a Mental Health and Wellbeing Risk Management policy for your business. Call us on 1300 287 360 or email or if you would prefer a confidential discussion with one of our directors, click/scan below to book a time to discuss your needs.