Keep mental health in mind

Key Points:

– October is National Safe Work Month with the campaign ‘think safe. work safe. be safe.’

– Different safety themes and events are happening throughout the month

– Businesses are asked to get involved and help develop the safety culture of their operation

– Week 2 kicks off with a mental health theme and psychosocial hazards to be aware of

 

October is National Safe Work Month and is a great time to develop a safe and healthy workplace.

The second week of Safe Work Month coincides with World Mental Health Day on Sunday 10 October 2021.

It’s a timely reminder that under work, health and safety laws that businesses have a duty to protect workers from psychological risks as well as physical risks in the workplace.

Safe Work Australia promotes that one of the best ways to do this is by applying the same risk management process used to manage physical risks, including consulting with workers.

You should work towards identifying potential risks of psychosocial hazards then introduce and manage control measures the same as you would for physical hazards.

Psychosocial hazards (a term now commonly used in relating social conditions to mental health) can include:

Increased Job demands, Poor support, Violence and aggression, Remote or isolated work, Bullying, Lack of role clarity, Harassment including sexual harassment, Poor organisational change management, Conflict or poor workplace relationships; and Inadequate reward and recognition.

The ‘think safe. work safe. be safe.’ theme applies equally well to the mental health week of Safe work Month.

Think Safe:

Safe Work Australia’s Infographic: Four steps to preventing psychological injury at work shows how the risk management process can be applied to psychosocial risks.

Step 1:  Identify psychological hazards and risks by:

– talking and listening to your workers

– inspecting your workplace

– taking note of how your workers interact

– reviewing reports and records, and

– using a survey tool to gather information.

Step 2:  Assess risks

Consider what could happen if workers are exposed to the identified hazards and risks.

Step 3:  Control risks

Where possible, eliminate the risk. This is always the safest option, but if it isn’t possible, minimise the risk so far as is reasonably practicable through planning and prevention.

Step 4:  Review and maintain control measures

Maintain, monitor and review control measures regularly to ensure they remain effective.

Consult your workers throughout the process. You should use agreed consultation processes such as health and safety representatives or committees if you have them.

Work safe:

If you have identified psychosocial hazards at your work – treat them like all other WHS hazards and manage risks by implementing effective control measures.

Be Safe:

Create a WHS culture in your workplace that protects workers’ mental health.

For other resources Safe Work have developed to support you identifying and managing psychosocial risks in the workplace go to www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/national-safe-work-month/nswm-in-focus#week-2-mental-health

And for further information on how to set up a Safety Management System specific to your operation talk to TurfPlus on how they can help with the free audit inspection offer currently available to Turf Australia members.

Further information at www.turfplus.com.au