5 Ways to Manage Psychosocial Risks and Hazards at Work – A quick HR guide

The legal HR issues brought in by the new Psychosocial Risk changes in various Workplace health and safety regulations, legislation and codes across Australia – in particular, Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania and Western Australia requires a good strategy to be implemented around people management.

Below is a quick read of the obligations as well as 5 preventative measures to take for HR teams.

Those obligations have been set out in more detail in the following articles:


In practical terms, the changes require reasonable steps to be taken to eliminate or minimise psychosocial risks and hazards in the workplace. These obligations are positive obligations on Employers and officers of the employer.

Some of those hazards include:

  1. high or low job demands – unreasonable time pressures,  unachievable deadlines, demanding work hours or shift work
  2. poor or lack of support – poorly maintained or inadequate access to supervisory support, limited opportunities to engage with co-workers during the work shift
  3. low role clarity – a worker being given conflicting information about work standards and performance expectation
  4. low reward and recognition – no fair opportunities for career development
  5. remote or isolated work – fly-in, fly-out (FIFO) workers and workers who spend a lot of time travelling, workers working alone from home or socially isolated away from home over lengthy periods of time
  6. bullying – repeated incidents of practical jokes, belittling or humiliating comments.

Managing the Risks for Human Resources

Put simply there are now express obligations on Human Resources to actively:

  • Identify
  • Assess
  • Manage
  • Control

Risks and Hazards.

This also needs to intersect with Workplace Health and Safety teams to ensure compliance and prevent investigations. 

From an Employment Law perspective this can also lead to a number of legal actions:

  • General Protections Applications
  • Unfair Dismissal
  • Workplace Bullying complaint
  • Sexual harassment applications
  • Workers compensation issues
  • Personal/carers leave and absenteeism problems
  • Workplace investigations
  • Discrimination claims
  • Worker complaints

5 Practical Ways to Manage These Legal Risks Include:

  1. Promotion of wellbeing programs – this may include formal programs as well as active changes to policy language and processes
  2. Providing support when mental illness is disclosed or raised
  3. Implementing an employee assistance program (EAP) to give external help and assistance to employees – for example www.welysn.com have in place mental health support programs which is worth having a look at
  4. Undertaking policy and process review for certain risk areas such as:
    1. Workplace bullying
    2. Sexual harassment
    3. Code of conduct
    4. Complaint and grievance handling
    5. Sick leave and illness
  5. Engaging in People Management Training such as sessions NB Employment Law run for clients

There is a need to take action but also keep it simple. 

Give NB Employment Law a call we offer an obligation-free consultation and are happy to help.  Reach out via [email protected] or +61 (07) 3876 5111 to book an appointment.

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Written By

Jonathan Mamaril


NB Employment Law 

[email protected]

+61 (07) 3876 5111

About the Author

Jonathan Mamaril leads a team of handpicked experts in the area of employment law who focus on educating clients to avoid headaches, provide advice on issues before they fester and when action needs to be taken and there is a problem mitigate risk and liability. With a core value of helping first and providing practical advice, Jonathan is a sought after advisor to a number of Employers and as a speaker for forums and seminars where his expertise is invaluable as a leader in this area as a lawyer for employers.

Jonathan Bio Page
[email protected] 
+61 (07) 3876 5111