New Psychosocial Regulations in SA

14 March 2024

Have you kept up? – Compliance with the new psychosocial WHS regulations in South Australia

In June 2022 Safe Work Australia updated its model Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations to include specific regulations to address the management of psychosocial hazards in the workplace and published a Managing psychosocial hazards at work Code of Practice. Since then, the various jurisdictions have taken steps to adopt or otherwise implement the model regulations.

In South Australia, regulatory changes took effect from 25 December 2023 and every person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) should, by now, have in place measures to manage the risk of psychosocial hazards in the workplace.

We recap the changes below.

Work Health and Safety (Psychosocial Risks) Amendment Regulations 2023 (SA)

  • A new definition of ‘psychosocial hazard’:  a hazard which arises from, or relates to one of the following and may cause psychological harm (whether or not it may also cause physical harm):
    • the design or management of work; or
    • a work environment; or
    • plant at a workplace; or
    • workplace interactions or behaviours.
  • A new definition of ‘psychosocial risk’: a risk to the health or safety of a worker or other person arising from a psychosocial hazard.
  • A requirement to manage psychological risks by identifying, assessing, controlling and implementing control measures.
  • A list of relevant matters to which a PCBU must have regard in determining appropriate control measures, including:
    • the duration, frequency and severity of the exposure of workers and other persons to the psychosocial hazards;
    • how the psychosocial hazards may interact or combine; and
    • the design of work, including job demands and tasks; and
    • the systems of work, including how work is managed, organised and supported; and
    • the design and layout, and environmental conditions, of the workplace, including the provision of safe means of entering and exiting the workplace;  and facilities for the welfare of workers; and
    • the design and layout, and environmental conditions, of workers’ accommodation; and
    • the plant, substances and structures at the workplace; and
    • workplace interactions or behaviours; and
    • the information, training, instruction and supervision provided to workers.

What does this mean for employers (and PCBUs generally)?

Here’s an action list to consider when implementing these changes:

  • review your WHS policies, your procedures and codes of conduct generally;
  • develop a risk based approach to jobs, job descriptions and the interface that workers have with others in connection with their work;
  • seek out and monitor where stress-related injuries are occurring and identify contributing factors to those outcomes;
  • review your systems to ensure incident registers can accommodate and respond to notified psychosocial risks that are reported in the workplace;
  • consider how incidents or complaints involving psychosocial risks will be investigated and reported on;
  • identify and implement control measures to minimise any psychosocial risks identified, in consultation with workers;
  • provide training, information and instruction to managers and workers about their obligations.

EMA Legal can assist PCBUs in the review or development of documentation and initiatives to achieve compliance which meet these changes.

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This Newsletter is made available to our clients and interested parties to provide immediate access to information about important changes and developments relevant to employers. The information contained in this publication should not be relied on as legal advice and should not be treated as a substitute for detailed advice that takes into account particular situations and the particular circumstances of your business.