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Mental Health – What to know, what to do?

Posted on 8 November 2022

Mental health is a growing challenge in our workplaces. With the adult population spending about a third of their life at work, workplaces play a fundamental role in protecting, improving and supporting the mental health of Victorians.

According to WorkSafe Victoria’s Mental Health Strategy, one in five Australians experience a mental health condition in any given year and 45 per cent of Australians will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. Every year, two in five Australians report they have left a job because of a poor mental health environment. The proportion of mental injury claims has grown significantly over time, and it is anticipated that in the next 10 years it is expected to grow to 33% of WorkCover claims.

The estimated cost of absenteeism and presenteeism (the lost productivity that occurs when employees are not fully functioning in the workplace because of an illness) in Australia is currently $17 billion

WorkSafe’s first Mental Health Strategy 2021 – 2024 is a significant milestone in a commitment to prevent workplace mental injuries and to better protect workers with a mental injury and has strong alignment with the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System final report and its findings and 65 recommendations.

In response to the Victorian Government’s commitment to introduce regulations to address psychological health in May 2021, WorkSafe has prepared the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment (Psychological Health) Regulations.

The proposed regulations will aim to strengthen the occupational health and safety framework and will recognise that hazards that pose a risk to psychological health are no less harmful to workers’ safety and wellbeing than physical hazards.

They will also provide clearer guidance to employers on their obligations to better protect workers from mental injury. This is likely to include a compliance code to explain in detail the specific requirements on risk management, reporting and associated timeframes as well as formats and guidance for a written prevention plan. The plan itself is expected to cover the following work-related factors

• Workplace relationships

• Support

• Role clarity

• Job demands

• Job control

• Change management

• Organisational justice

• Reward or recognition

• Environmental conditions

• Remote or isolated work

• Violent or traumatic events

2023 will see HAZCON deliver Health and Safety Refresher OHS training that has a focus on psychosocial hazards and psychological health. The OHS for managers and supervisors training


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