Earlier this month, the IHR team was fortunate to attend the Mentally Healthy Workplaces Workshop facilitated by Workplace Health & Safety Queensland.
We learnt more about mental health and work-related stress as well as the legal obligations for employers, risk factors for work related stress, possible outcomes from exposure to stress and risk management processes to manage these situations in the work place.
Mental health is not just a concern in the workplace, but also within employee’s personal lives. A common question we get asked from our clients is “why is it my problem? Can’t they just leave their personal issues at home and come to work and work”.
Although we cannot control what happens in our employee’s personal life; once a ‘worker’ enters your worksite, then that person becomes the businesses’ concern. As a business owner there is a legal obligation to minimise the worker’s exposure to work-related factors that can increase their risk of work-related injuries – mental or physical. So, if the worker isn’t 100% engaged in their job and their mind is elsewhere (because they are thinking about things happening within their personal life), and if there is an accident or incident at work, then it may be considered a workplace injury.
It’s not just your employees either. The legislation defines a ‘worker’ as employees, consultants, volunteers etc.
The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 imposes a legal duty on business operators or a PCBU (Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking) to do what is reasonably practicable to eliminate or minimise risk to a worker’s health and safety. This duty extends to protecting workers from the risk of harm from stressors at work.
Increased stress levels of workers in an organisation can lead to diminished organisational performance, increased employee turnover and decreased job satisfaction. The effects of work-related stress on organisational performance provides good reasons (above and beyond legal duties and the direct financial and human costs) as to why employers and other duty holders should reduce workers’ exposure to workplace stressors.
A few quick tips to create a mentally healthy
- Being conscious of continual and demanding workload without adequate breaks
- Creating a supportive and team orientated work environment
- Training and development or upskilling initiatives
- Ensuring role or position clarity and the expectations of the same
- Managing workplace conflict effectively and quickly
- Recognition and Reward programs
- Ensuring the employment foundations i.e. employment agreement and company policies and procedures are in place to provide organisation justice
To read more or access a range of free resources on work-place stress and mental health, follow the links below:
- WHSQ Mentally Healthy Workplaces
- WHSQ Stress Tip Sheets
- Safe Work Australia National
guidance material – Work-related
psychological health and safety – A systematic approach to meeting your duties
Or of course, feel free to call us at any time
to discuss your concerns or to run some thoughts by us.