Safe Work Australia has produced a new guide for employers to help tackle common causes of psychological injury in the workplace.

Dr Peta Miller, special adviser for Safe Work Australia, said work-related psychological injury represented a significant cost to businesses and organisations should be taking preventative action and early intervention to address common hazards.

“Poor psychological safety costs Australian organisations $6 billion per annum in lost productivity. This is primarily because psychological injuries typically require three times more time off work than other injuries.

“Additionally, workplaces with poor psychological working conditions accrue 43 per cent more sick days per month.”

Dr Miller said work-related psychological injury can be caused by excessive time pressures, unreasonable deadlines and poorly managed organisational change.

“Interpersonal conflict, harassment and bullying, and exposure to occupational violence are also critical causes of work-related injury.”

Identifying the hazards to good mental health, assessing how severe the risks are, and taking steps to eliminate and control the risks are essential steps to building a healthy and safe workplace, she said.

“You can prevent your workers becoming ill or sustaining a psychological injury by responding to early warning signs and incidents.

“Most importantly, workers will offer the most valuable insights – they know what causes them harm, and will have ideas about how to most effectively address the dangers to their mental health.

“My advice is to listen to the people doing the work,” she said.

The resource offers guidance on assessing and controlling risks, early intervention and supporting recovery.

Work-related psychological health and safety – A systematic approach to meeting your duties is available to download on the Safe Work Australia website.

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