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Psychosocial Hazards


In most if not all organisations today physical conditions and hazards are well documented with significant safety procedures and processes in place to ensure employee safety. 

A psychosocial hazard or work stressor is any occupational hazard related to the way work is designed, organised and managed as well as the economic and social contexts of work. Employees are likely to be exposed to work related psychosocial hazards and risk factors which can be harmful to the health of workers and compromise their wellbeing.  These include mental stress, fatigue, bullying in the workplace, violence, customer aggression, harassment, burnout which can be harmful to the health and wellbeing of employees.  Some areas organisations can asses are fatigue, remote work, poor organisational justice, poor change management, low recognition and reward, lack of role clarity, low levels of control, work demands and inadequate support from supervisors and/or co-workers. 

Organisations are more aware today of the pressures on the workforce which can result in high sick leave, workers compensation claims, lack of productivity and mental health strains on its staff.  Psychosocial risk assessment process can help the organisation identify and manage workplace risks to the psychological health of its employees in the workplace. A confidential psychosocial survey supported with focus group discussions with staff can provide the organisation with a  report identifying psychosocial risks and provide recommendations to identify current risk factors and develop appropriate interventions.

The psychosocial survey we recommend is considered 'best practice' and is closely aligned with the Creating Mentally Health Workplaces report collaboration between UNSW, Black Dog Institute and the National Mental Health Commission. The survey report and its recommendations was fully supported by the Business Council of Australia.  

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Psychosocial survey process

  • Collect data from, potentially, all staff

  • Results benchmarked against other Councils’ results

  • Set a base level result to monitor incremental improvements over time

  • Receive clear data about the mental health and wellbeing of staff

  • Receive data that had face validity and would be easily understood by the reader

  • Use a confidential approach in which individual staff were not identified

  • Cost effective for the organisation

Psychosocial survey process

  • Analyse employee data to identify trends and potential psychosocial hazards

  • Provide initial briefing of the results

  • Develop ‘best practice’ focus groups to further explore the survey results to inform mitigation strategies if and where needed

  • Prepare a report identifying psychosocial risks and provide recommendations which are compatible with Council’s resources and capability

Psychosocial  Risks

in workplaces increase stress and reduce mental wellbeing.

Strong foundations and managing psychosocial risk are an essential part of the foundations for a workplace to be mentally health.

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