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Integrating Psychological Risk Management into WHS Risk Management Processes in Qld

Psychological Risk Management

Psychological risk management (PRM) is an essential component of workplace health and safety (WHS) management. It involves identifying, assessing, and controlling psychosocial hazards that can harm employees' psychological wellbeing. In Queensland, Australia, the Code of Practice: Managing the risk of psychosocial hazards at work 2022 (the Code) provides a framework for integrating PRM into WHS risk management processes.

Key Steps for Integrating PRM into WHS Risk Management Processes

1. Identify psychosocial hazards:

The first step is to identify psychosocial hazards in the workplace. This can be done through a variety of methods, such as surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Psychosocial hazards can arise from various factors, including:

  • Work demands and expectations

  • Work organisation and design

  • Control and influence at work

  • Relationships at work

  • Leadership and management

  • Social support

2. Assess psychosocial risks:

Once psychosocial hazards have been identified, the next step is to assess the risks associated with these hazards. This involves considering the likelihood and severity of harm that could occur. The Code provides a five-step process for assessing psychosocial risks:

  1. Identify the hazard: Clearly define the psychosocial hazard.

  2. Consider the risk factors: Identify the specific factors that contribute to the risk of harm from the hazard.

  3. Assess the potential harm: Evaluate the potential severity and likelihood of harm that could result from exposure to the hazard.

  4. Consider control measures: Identify potential control measures that could be implemented to reduce the risk of harm.

  5. Evaluate the effectiveness of controls: Assess the effectiveness of the implemented control measures.

3. Control psychosocial risks:

Based on the risk assessment, control measures should be implemented to eliminate or minimise psychosocial risks. The Code provides a hierarchy of control measures, from elimination to substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment (PPE).

4. Review and monitor:

PRM is an ongoing process, and it is important to regularly review and monitor the effectiveness of control measures. This will help to ensure that psychosocial risks are being effectively managed and that new hazards are identified and addressed promptly.

Additional Considerations for Integrating PRM into WHS Risk Management Processes

  • Engage workers: Workers should be involved in all stages of the PRM process, from identifying hazards to developing and implementing control measures.

  • Promote a supportive workplace culture: A supportive workplace culture can help to reduce psychosocial risks and promote employee wellbeing.

  • Provide training and awareness: Workers should be trained on how to identify and report psychosocial hazards.

  • Seek expert help: If needed, seek expert help from psychologists or occupational hygienists to assess and manage psychosocial risks.

By integrating PRM into WHS risk management processes, organisations in Queensland can create safer and healthier workplaces for all employees.


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