Health promotion, intervention and support in the workplace has received a big boost with the publication of new guidance material by Safe Work Australia. It is entitled 'Work-related psychological health and safety - A systematic approach to meeting your duties.' Whilst it is aimed at jurisdictions with Work health and safety (WHS) legislation in place, there is much to like and could be considered by Victorian and Western Australian workplaces.
Using a thorough and systematic approach to preventing harm and supporting recovery where harm may occur, or is occurring, can have significant business benefits including:
The suggested systematic approach uses the following three elements to help meet legal duties and improve an organisation's approach to preventing psychological injury and supporting recovery:
Each of the above elements are explored and explained in the new guidance. It also includes important actions that should be occurring throughout the three stages and on an ongoing basis:
These actions can be supplemented by other, optional activities to promote good general physical and mental health. It is worth noting that whilst there is no specific requirement to implement workplace health promotion and wellness programs, the implementation of appropriate well-run programs is considered best practice. The guidance also states that 'fostering a people-oriented organisational culture through supportive management can aid in the prevention, early identification and management of mental health conditions in the workplace.'
The guidance also lists resources, tools and other support services along with a comparison scenario of compliance versus best practice approaches that will add to the body of knowledge.
For further information: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/work-related-psychological-health-and-safety-guide-published