In April of this year, Australia implemented amendments to its Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws, which now require employers to manage and mitigate psychosocial hazards in the workplace. While larger organizations may have the resources to easily comply with these regulations, smaller businesses may find it more challenging. However, failing to adhere to these regulations could result in a loss of talent and have a negative impact on the bottom line.
Psychosocial hazards in the workplace include factors such as violence, aggression, harassment, conflicts, isolated work conditions, inadequate recognition, lack of role clarity, poor support, and unsustainable job demands. All of these factors can have a detrimental effect on an employee’s mental health if not managed properly. Considering that one in five Australian workers have reported experiencing a mental health condition, it is crucial for employers, especially small businesses, to prioritize the management of psychosocial hazards.
Failure to effectively manage these hazards could result in fines or WorkSafe orders for employers. Additionally, ongoing incidents in the workplace can damage an employer’s reputation and lead to increased employee turnover. However, implementing processes and procedures to manage these hazards can lower the risk of workplace issues such as bullying and harassment. It also improves employee awareness of workplace hazards and promotes more effective management and employee support.
Small businesses have the advantage of knowing their business well and can engage directly with employees to understand their perspectives on workplace hazards. Regular check-ins, surveys, and review of workplace incident reports can help identify opportunities for improvement. Developing a risk management plan, implementing policies, and providing additional support such as training programs and counseling services can effectively manage and mitigate psychosocial hazards.
While these new regulations may initially pose challenges for small businesses, actively monitoring and addressing these hazards can lead to positive impacts on operations, including increased employee retention, productivity, and a unified team dynamic. It is important for small businesses to stay informed about the latest legal updates and resources on psychosocial hazards, such as Safe Work Australia’s website.
Complying with these regulations not only ensures legal compliance but also contributes to employee satisfaction, productivity, and overall well-being in the workplace.
– Unsplash/ Brooke Cagle
– Employment Hero