New South Wales has become the first state in Australia to introduce a code of practice to set out the legal responsibilities’ businesses have to address hazards in the workplace that have the potential to cause psychological or physical harm.
Workplaces have a legal duty of care to their employees to protect them from psychosocial hazards such as bullying and harassment, violence in the workplace, remote and isolated work.
The Code sets out what employers need to be doing under the state’s legislation to protect their workers and will be used in court as evidence if workplaces fail to take their responsibilities seriously.
Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson, said:
This Code comes after our research found only one in five NSW businesses reported having a basic awareness on how to control work-related psychological health risks and less than 10 percent of all workplaces said they have an established approach to handling these issues.
Safe Work Australia has also developed a new online tool to help businesses identify, assess and manage psychosocial risks at work and it has been undertaking inspections in states such as South Australia to ensure businesses are managing the risks associated with psychological safety in the workplace.
SafeWork SA Executive Director, Martyn Campbell said the planned audits are a reminder for businesses to take psychological safety as seriously as workers physical safety.
“Everyone deserves to feel safe at work”, said Mr Campbell.
Safe Work NSW: Australia-first framework to improve mental health at work
Safe Work SA: Keeping workplaces psychologically healthy
Tasmanian Government: Improving mental health in Tasmanian workplaces