HR Policy Global

Global Members Discuss Broad Reach of Psychosocial Risk Factors in Australian Workplaces

As Australia became the latest country where state-based regulations are increasing employer obligations and liability, Adam Salter and Noella Silby from Jones Day provided important updates during a global webinar on the topic. HR Policy Global members can access the webinar recording and slides on our website using the links below. 

Webinar: HR Policy Global Videos
Slides: Understanding the Psychosocial Risk Regulations in Australia

Background: As early as 1984, the International Labour Organization and World Health Organization defined the nature of psychosocial risk factors and their impact on employee health and well-being. However, it is only in recent years that attention has been directed to the risk factors that employers have an influence on and, in some countries, a liability and/or legal obligation to manage.  

The state of Victoria has some of the strongest requirements which will include: 

  • Identification of existing and potential psychosocial hazards in the workplace, including consultation with employees to identify risks and potential control measures.

  • Review of current measures to minimize risk and development of written implementation plans for any identified hazards.

  • A continuous process of review and assessment.

  • Documentation and reporting of reportable risks.

  • Penalties for failure to comply with the reporting scheme. 

Some psychosocial risk factors are well known to employers, such as sexual harassment, hostile work environments and bullying. However, other risk factors such as low/high job demands, remote or isolated work, low or limited job control, poor workplace relationships, low recognition and reward, poor organizational management – to name just a selection – propose a greater challenge to employers to identify and control. 

Outlook for Employers: Risk identification and consultation with employees is a critical step in determining the scope of the workplace plan. According to the speakers, employers should consider the best methodology of gathering this information – including the use of external resources and perspectives. Additionally, the process of identifying psychosocial risks can be a sensitive event for an employee and all due care needs to be taken in providing a safe environment for the sharing of information. 

Published on: May 12, 2023

Authors: Michelle Swinden

Topics: China, Japan & Asia-Pacific, Employee Wellbeing

Michelle Swinden

Executive Director, Asia-Pacific, HR Policy Global

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Contact Michelle Swinden LinkedIn