​Psychosocial Hazard Management

Psychosocial hazards can cause psychological and physical harm. On average, work-related psychological injuries have longer recovery times, higher costs, and require more time away from work. Managing the risks associated with psychosocial hazards not only protects staff, but it also decreases the disruption associated with staff turnover, absenteeism, and may improve broader organisational performance and productivity.

The new regulations and Code of Practice will support businesses to be proactive in ensuring their most valuable assets – their workers – are free from harm at work.

For information see the model Code of Practice: Managing psychosocial hazards at work which has taken effect in South Australia from December 2023.  SafeWork SA provides information relating to Psychosocial hazards and work-related stress.

Visit SafeWorkSA for resources to help identify and manage the risks of psychosocial hazards in the workplace.

Watch this 2-minute video on Understanding Psychosocial Hazards in the workplace.

Common causes of psychosocial hazards

The attributes of a psychologically healthy workplace include:

  1. Open and honest leadership
  2. Fair and respectful culture
  3. Inclusion and influence
  4. Good job design
  5. Prioritising mental health
  6. Work/life balance
  7. Employee development
  8. Workload management
  9. Mental health support

www.headsup.org.au: Nine attributes of a healthy workplace

Employer responsibilities

The employer has a duty to protect workers from the risk of harm from work-related stress. Workers are likely to be exposed to a combination of psychosocial hazards; some may always be present, while others only occasionally. Employers should understand what these risks are and how they can best control them.

Employers should regularly check for psychological health risks by:

  • looking at systems of work design and management
  • undertaking one-on-one discussions with workers
  • reviewing past incidents with a view to minimising reoccurrence.

Managers can use the psychological health safety checklist to assist in meeting obligations.

Reporting Psychosocial Risks

The University’s online Hazard and Incident Reporting System can be used to report hazards (including potential risks of sexual harassment), injuries or illness with such reports triggering the involvement of the Safety and Wellbeing team and People, Talent and Culture who can guide staff on available support. Information maintained in this system is kept confidential. To notify the University of an actual incident of sexual harassment or sexual assault, please use the UniSA online SASH Reporting tool.

For more information or if you would like to have a confidential discussion – contact your local PTC Strategic People Partner, Safety and Wellbeing team or the Employee Relations team.

Other supports and interventions

Ideally, work related factors influencing your psychological wellbeing should be addressed at the primary or organisational level. However, in addition to managing psychosocial risk, best practice for mentally healthy workplaces also includes:

  • promotion of individual health and wellbeing
  • early intervention for staff with health factors impacting on work
  • support, recovery and return to work options.

The University's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a free confidential counselling service provided by an external psychology practice. This program is available to staff and immediate family members to support them with a variety of work, emotional, career or personal related problems. Call 1300 277 924 for assistance.  EAP now has a 24/7/365 tele-health consultation service which extends beyond the confines of the traditional 9am to 5pm schedule. Appointments can be booked by calling 1300 277 924. 

As part of the EAP, the Manager Assist Program supports managers with personal and interpersonal work issues related to managing staff performance, work relationships and organisational change and can be accessed by telephone as well as face to face.

Other online supports include: