Workplace psychological health guide released

Friday, 15 June, 2018

Workplace psychological health guide released

Safe Work Australia has published a national guidance on how employers and workers can build a psychologically healthy and safe workplace.

The guide aims to help users to identify, assess and control risks to mental health.

Dr Peta Miller, Special Adviser for Safe Work Australia, said that while work-related psychological injury is expensive, knowing what causes harm and taking preventative action is effective.

“Poor psychological safety costs Australian organisations $6 billion per annum in lost productivity. This is primarily because psychological injuries typically require three times more time off work than other injuries,” she said.

“Additionally, workplaces with poor psychological working conditions accrue 43% more sick days per month.”

Miller said that work-related psychological injury can be caused by excessive time pressures, unreasonable deadlines and poorly managed organisational change.

“Interpersonal conflict, harassment and bullying, and exposure to occupational violence are also critical causes of work-related injury,” she said.

“Most importantly, however, you can prevent workers becoming ill by taking preventative action and by intervening early.”

Identifying the hazards to good mental health, assessing how severe the risks are and taking steps to eliminate and control the risks are essential steps to building a healthy and safe workplace.

“You can prevent your workers becoming ill or sustaining a psychological injury by responding to early warning signs and incidents — an increase in unplanned absence, uncharacteristic behaviour and workplace conflict are all clues that things aren’t quite right,” said Miller.

“Most importantly, workers will offer the most valuable insights — they know what causes them harm and will have ideas about how to most effectively address the dangers to their mental health. My advice is to listen to the people doing the work.”

‘Work-related psychological health and safety — A systematic approach to meeting your duties’ is available on the Safe Work Australia website.

Image credit: © Walters

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