ACT launches psychosocial hazards strategy

The following article is a news item provided for the benefit of the Workplace Health and Safety profession. Its content does not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Institute of Health & Safety.
Sunday, 10 October, 2021 - 12:30
Policy & legislation
Australian Capital Territory

WorkSafe ACT recently launched its inaugural Strategy for Managing Work-related Psychosocial Hazards 2021-23’ which focuses on a number of key areas including managing work-related violence and aggression as well as managing work-related sexual harassment.

ACT’s Work Health and Safety Commissioner, Jacqueline Agius, emphasised the significance of launching this strategy during National Safe Work Month, with a particular emphasis on work-related violence and sexual harassment.

The risk of harm from all psychosocial hazards is immense, on average, work-related psychological injuries have longer recovery times, higher costs, and require more time away from work,” she said.

“We aim to protect all workers from these harms, and I am particularly passionate about preventing work related violence and aggression.”

The event featured insights into the workings of WorkSafe ACT’s team of specialist psychosocial inspectors, including ‘what to expect when a psychosocial inspector visits’ and the Australian first approach to digitising compliance with managing psychosocial hazards.

Australian WHS expert and consultant Dr Peta Miller shared preliminary research findings examining what barriers and enablers duty holders experience when trying to effectively manage psychosocial hazards.

“We are tackling systemic work health and safety issues like bullying, sexual harassment, work-related violence and aggression,” said Agius.

“It is morally and legally unacceptable for any employer to accept these hazards as ‘part of the job’ or for these hazards to be dismissed as being too hard to manage.”

Agius emphasised the impact of effective management and the results of partnering with the wider ACT community to commit to positive changes.

“Being healthy and safe means being free from physical and psychological harm. No job should be unsafe, and no death or injury is acceptable,” she said.

“The health and safety outcomes from effectively managing psychosocial hazards are immeasurable and this strategy will demonstrate that the Territory is an Australian leader in the prevention and management of psychosocial harm.”