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First WHS Code Of Practice On Psychosocial Hazards

Published June 25, 2021 (last updated June 7, 2022) - Head of Health and Safety
employer implementing the new code of practice in nsw

The first Workplace Health and Safety Code of Practice providing practical guidance and information on how to manage risks in the workplace in respect of Psychosocial Hazards was introduced in New South Wales as of 30 May 2021.

Under state and territory workplace health and safety legislation employers have a duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers and visitors to the business by identifying hazards and eliminating or minimising any risks. ‘Health’ includes both physical and psychological health. Hazards are anything that can cause harm, and risk means the possibility of harm (death, injury or illness) which might occur if a worker is exposed to a hazard.

What are Psychosocial Hazards?

Psychosocial hazards at work are aspects of work and situations that may cause a stress response which in turn can lead to psychological or physical harm. This may be because of the way the tasks or job are designed, organised, managed or supervised, or the hazard may be inherent to the actual task or job.

Psychosocial hazards can also arise from the equipment used, or from the physical working environment if it evokes a “physiological or stress response”. Last, but not least, psychosocial hazards may stem from social factors at work, including workplace relationships and social interactions or lack thereof. Examples of these psychosocial hazards are bullying and harassment, violence in the workplace, and remote or isolated work.

Is There Anything I Have to Do?

The Code is not mandatory, but provides practical guidance including effective ways to identify and manage psychosocial hazards and risks in the workplace, and applies to all work and workplaces in NSW covered by the WHS Act.

While it is likely that similar Codes of Practice will be introduced across all States and Territories in the near future, in the meantime, given that WHS legislation across the board imposes a duty of care on employers to take steps to protect employees from harm as far as reasonably practicable, we can help you identify and manage any risks in your workplace.

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About Employsure

Employsure is one of Australia’s largest workplace relations advisers to small- and medium-businesses, with over 30,000 clients. We take the complexity out of workplace legislation to help small business employers protect their business and their people.

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