Don’t risk it. Protect your business, yourself, and your employees. Know what you need to know and act now to prevent psychological injury at work.

Psychosocial Hazards are terms used often, lately.  It’s a big term, difficult to say and rarely understood. It refers to areas in business that cause stress and/or anxiety. That could impact on a person’s mental health. Leading to a psychological injury.

This must be front and centre of your Work Health and Safety risk management plan and processes. It is important for all business owners and managers to know. And identify, act on, and mitigate any risks, as part of running a business. It is necessary, not a nice to have.

You must show that you have acted. And addressed any potential causes of stress. Or anxiety, duress etc. Anything that could lead to a mental health issue for any of your employees. If proven that you did not act your liability is high.

In the literature, news, and regulators, you’ll come across the terms PCBU and HRS’s. They refer to a person conducting a business undertaking. And health and safety representative’s. This means you the owner, and/your manager/s are responsible. You are all accountable for the safety of your workers.

Yes, you, small business owner and/or manager, are responsible. It’s not only corporate entities and government departments. It’s all businesses and their owners, managers, and directors. Anyone conducting a business undertaking (PCBU’s). You are responsible for protecting employees mental health at work.

That’s why we’ve put together this video explanation of psychosocial hazards. What you need to know, do and why. Watch below. It’s 6 minutes long or close. Well worth your time. Protect yourself, your employees, and your business.

Links to news re cases and compensation:

Leggett v racing club $2.8mn

Leggett v Hawkesbury Race Club Limited (No 3) [2021] FCA 1658 and Leggett v Hawkesbury Race Club Limited (No 4) [2022] FCA 622, Rares J of the Federal Court of Australia held that the Club was liable to pay compensation for a few breaches under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (FW Act). This compensation was not capped by operation of the Workers Compensation Act 1987 (NSW) (WC Act).

Sexual Harassment compensation$268k small business jewellery store no policies re what an employee can do if an unlawful act occurs at work. Words from Will Snow of Snow Legal about this case:

Snow says one of the factors at play here might be a lack of policies or processes to guide employees in making formal complaints, or feelings of lack of safety to do so. In this case, the jeweller’s failure to create a formal sexual harassment policy played heavily against it.

“It goes to show that a business in this situation, without any policies at all, could never demonstrate that it had taken reasonable and proportionate measures to stop unlawful conduct from occurring,” says Snow. For small businesses such as this one, where there is no in-house HR department, he suggests that employers consider how they can build a clear avenue for employees to report misconduct.

“One of the key findings from this case is that, if you don’t provide some mechanism for people to raise concerns, then often their only option is to go to an external party.

“That external party might be a lawyer, or it could be the Australian Human Rights Commission. So, one of the things to consider, especially for smaller businesses that don’t have an in-house HR function, is [whether they should] partner with an HR consultant who is available to employees.

“There needs to be some sort of complaint handling mechanism so people can raise issues or concerns. And [this case is] an education piece for all businesses that, just because you’re small, it doesn’t mean you can get away with it.”

Jetstar meeting caused psychological injury finding by NSW Personal Injury Commission highlighted words from the decision written by Allens Linklater:

The Commission found that it would have been reasonable for Jetstar to have provided Mr Dimopoulos with more time to properly prepare (and possibly comply with the policy the subject of the meeting (in this case, the leave policy)).

On that basis, Jetstar’s actions were not accepted by the Commission as reasonable. The matter was remitted for a referral to an independent medical assessment to determine Mr Dimopoulos’ whole person impairment.

If you would like help with managing psychological risks at your workplace book a FREE 15 minute discovery call with me.

Watch a presentation on dealing with psychosocial hazards in the workplace.