1 min read

Have you turned your mind to psychosocial hazards?

Amendments to the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2017 (NSW) (WHS Regulations) regarding psychosocial hazards will commence operation from 1 October 2022.

From this date, persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) in New South Wales will have to expressly manage psychosocial hazards by adopting the risk management approach already outlined in the WHS Regulations. This approach requires a PCBU to implement, maintain and review controls for those hazards.

It is likely that other jurisdictions will follow suit with similar amendments.

A psychosocial hazard is a broadly defined in the legislation to be a hazard that arises from, or relates to either the design or management of work, the work environment or plant, or workplace interactions or behaviours, where such matters may cause psychological harm.

In determining the control measures implement to manage the risks from psychosocial hazards, a PCBU must have regard to all relevant matters, including:

  • the duration, frequency and severity of the exposure of workers and other persons to the psychosocial hazards;
  • how the psychosocial hazards may interact or combine;
  • the design of work, including job demands and tasks;
  • the systems of work, including how work is managed, organised and supported;
  • the design and layout, and environmental conditions, of the workplace, including the provision of:
  • safe means of entering and exiting the workplace; and
  • facilities for the welfare of workers;
  • the design and layout, and environmental conditions, of workers’ accommodation;
  • the plant, substances and structures at the workplace;
  • workplace interactions or behaviours; and
  • the information, training, instruction and supervision provided to workers.

As with other jurisdictions, NSW has also published a code of practice to assist employers in discharging their duty of care. This code reflects the code published by Safe Work Australia in August this year.

Each employer should now take active steps to consider and document their assessment of the potential exposure of their workforce to psychosocial hazards, and use the codes to assist in implementing and maintaining effective controls.

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