Workplace health and safety supremo Gary Wilcox from MONIT contines to keep us up to date of the latest health and safety regulations and how to comply.

In a world of constant change panel shops fair better than most when it comes to rejigging their business to accommodate for change. 

It’s also fair to say that COVID-19 has been a wake-up call for most panel shops. As with other business owners the realisation hit home that workplace health and safety isn’t just about machinery but that businesses are also responsible to protect their workers from viral injuries. By the way if you do not have a COVID SAFE PLAN in place stop reading this and do one immediately. For the rest, read on. 

In May and September of 2019, I wrote articles warning about the impact of a new workplace focus for the authorities called psychosocial behaviour. Before then it was a relatively unheard-of term but fast forward 2021 and it is now on the radar of every government as the authorities unveil their focus on psychosocial hazards in the workplace. 

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.  

NSW has just become the first state in Australia to introduce a Code of Conduct covering Psychosocial Hazards in the workplace 

After reading through the Code of Practice it is for the most part something that every business with a robust health and safety system in place would be doing anyway. However, done poorly, or not at all, could have dire consequences 

An extreme example would be a worker who suicides from the direct effects of a psychosocial hazard in a workplace. This would now more than likely attract an industrial manslaughter charge against the business owner with the outcome dependant on the ability of the business to submit evidence to prove their duty of care. 

It’s becoming obvious that for a business shirking their WHS obligations there is going to be a greater scrutiny placed on their workplace psychosocial environment 

Managing psychosocial hazards at work is simply about: 

  • Sharing information.  

  • Giving affected workers and others reasonable opportunities to express views 

  • Taking those views into account before making decisions on WHS matters 

  • Advising workers of the consultation’s outcomes in a timely and appropriate manner.  

Examples of things to look out for and ask about may include: 

  • Tasks or situations that are generally considered mentally, emotionally or physically very difficult or stressful. 

  • Frequent rushing, delays, work backlogs, increased rates of errors or wastage, unexpected incidents, or process failures. 

  • Workers improvising how work is done due to time pressures, or inappropriately delaying or avoiding tasks. 

  • Concerns about understaffing or inappropriate staff skills mix, inadequate or inappropriate tools or amenities.  

  • Significant differences between duty statements and required activities. 

  • Complaints about the company’s policies, procedures and systems of work saying they are unsafe or too difficult to follow. 

  • Significant changes in the behaviours of workers such as: 

  • Incivility. 

  • Openly criticising others or the organisation. 

  • Refusing offers of help when it is needed or others requests for help. 

  • Lack of engagement such as low-quality performance or failure to complete jobs on time. 

  • Increased absenteeism. 

  • New technology and equipment changes. 

  • Social factors at work, workplace relationships and social interactions. 

To find out more about how MONIT could help your business stay compliant click here.


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