Managing psychosocial risks in the workplace

On the 1st August, Safe Work Australia published its model Code of Practice: Managing psychosocial hazards at work.

The Code follows a recommendation made by Marie Boland (Boland Report, 2018-2019) in the review of health and safety laws. The review of these laws found consistent views raised by those consulted during a review of the health and safety laws that psychological health is neglected in the model WHS Regulations and model Codes.


Retailers obligations to manage psychosocial risks

All retail businesses that engage workers in any way shape or form, have an obligation to those workers to ensure their health and safety while at work.

A retailer’s health and safety obligations mean that the business must identify and manage the risks associated with those things or situations in the workplace that can cause psychological and/or physical harm.


Common psychosocial hazards

Common psychosocial hazards include, but are not limited to job demands, lack of role clarity, poor supervisor support, harassment, and bullying.

For retail, a common psychosocial risk is customer misbehaviour, including aggression and violence.


Why retailers must take note of the new Code

This new Code provides you with practical guidance on how to meet your duty of care in regard to the management of psychosocial hazards in your workplace.

The Code details the risk management process, including:

  1. How to identify psychosocial hazards
  2. How to assess psychosocial risks, and when a risk assessment is necessary
  3. Identifying, selecting, and implementing risk control measures

The Code also provides guidance on how to conduct workplace health and safety investigations into reports of incidents involving psychosocial hazards.


Resource: Model Code of Practice: Managing psychosocial hazards at work


Note: the new Code will not have legal effect in a jurisdiction until it is approved there

Disclaimer: The material within this update is provided for general information and educational purposes in summary form on topics that are current when it is first published. The content does not constitute legal advice or recommendations and should not be relied upon as such.



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