Stricter Regulations Making it Harder for Companies to Ignore Psychosocial Risks

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The days of companies cavalierly disregarding the psychosocial risks associated with their operations are swiftly coming to an end, as a host of new and increasingly stringent regulations make it nearly impossible for them to ignore these issues any longer.

Safe Work Australia recently made changes to the model Work Health and Safety Act and the model Work Health and Safety Regulations in June 2022. As a result, the Commonwealth, States, and Territories are currently in different stages of implementing regulatory duties that require persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) to manage psychosocial risks.

This is further emphasised by the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) adoption of a new international labour standard on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work. The standard sets out obligations for governments to ensure that national legislation on violence and harassment in the world of work covers all workers, including those working in unorganised sectors. It also requires governments to provide access to adequate protection and remedies for affected workers. 

Furthermore, it sets out obligations for employers to prevent and respond to violence and harassment in the workplace.

“These changes are a clear indication that governments and international organisations are taking the psychosocial risks seriously,” said John Bailey, Executive Officer Director – State Government Victoria. 

“No longer can employers ignore these risks, as they will now be held accountable for protecting their workers.”

The new regulations have made it more difficult for companies to ignore psychosocial risks. Employers will now have to manage these risks within their organisation proactively. This includes conducting regular risk assessments and developing robust protocols for dealing with potential issues. Companies should also ensure that their staff are adequately trained to identify and respond to psychosocial risks in the workplace.

“It is encouraging to see regulators taking a proactive stance when protecting workers from psychosocial risks,” said Bailey. “It is now up to employers to comply with these regulations and take the necessary steps to ensure their staff are safe and healthy.”

It’s time to take the psychosocial risk seriously so employers can provide their staff with a safe and healthy workplace. Let’s ensure we’re no longer ignoring the elephant in the room!

The bottom line is this: you can’t afford to ignore your employees’ mental health and well-being. Invest in their safety now and later reap the rewards of a productive and harmonious environment.

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