Updated Psychosocial Codes of Practice

WHS Codes of Practice for Psychosocial

The State Government has released three updated codes of practice on February 15, that provide guidance on how you can manage workplace behaviour, violence and aggression, and psychosocial hazards in the workplace from a Work Health and Safety (WHS) perspective.

What is a Code of Practice?

Codes of Practice are practical guides to achieving the standards of health and safety required under WHS laws. An approved code of practice applies to anyone who has a duty of care in the circumstances described in the code. The codes of practice provide direct guidance to achieving compliance with the WHS Act and Regulations.

While approved codes of practice are not law, they are admissible in court proceedings. Courts may regard an approved code of practice as evidence of what is known about a hazard, risk or control and may rely on the relevant code to determine what is reasonably practicable in the circumstances.

The New Codes of Practice:

  • The workplace behaviour code is primarily concerned with inappropriate or unreasonable behaviours by any worker within an organisation. Inappropriate or unreasonable behaviours include bullying, harassment (sexual or otherwise), violence and aggression, discrimination, misconduct and conflict.
  • The violence and aggression code is mainly focused on managing violence and aggression from external parties such as customers, clients, patients and students. This includes actions that may psychologically or physically harm others such as abusive behaviour, name-calling, intimidation, stalking, threatening, assaulting, pushing or hitting.
  • The psychosocial hazards code provides practical guidance for workplaces where people may be exposed to psychosocial hazards such as stress, fatigue and burnout, as well as bullying, harassment, violence and aggression, discrimination and misconduct. This code outlines common psychosocial hazards such as poor leadership practices, work demands, no policies and procedures, low levels of control, lack of role clarity and insecure work.

What does your business need to do?

  1. ProcessWorx recommends businesses read and review the new codes. These codes have relevancy in all industries so business owners should review the codes and take note of the hazards and risks outlined.
  2. Review your risk register. Consider if the example hazards in the codes of practice are relevant to your business, if so include them on your risk register or update any existing hazards.
  3. Work through the risk register process to implement control measures. Control measures can include, management supervision and providing practical support, modelling of appropriate workplace behaviours, and fair consistent implementation of policies and procedures.

Psychosocial safety at work is important for employers to comply with their work health and safety duty of care. If you have concerns or would like assistance implementing a safety system in your business, please contact ProcessWorx WHS consultants on (08) 9316 9896. Visit our website for more information on HR and Work Health and Safety support for business owners https://www.processworx.com.au/

Follow ProcessWorx on LinkedInFacebookInstagramYouTube, and Twitter to keep up with the latest HR and Safety news.

Written by Danielle McNamee


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Marisa Ross

HR Advisor

Marisa is an experienced and motivated HR professional with a strong HR generalist and business operations background with a focus on employee relations, performance management, leadership training & development, workers compensation & injury management, and employee retention. Marisa holds a Bachelor of Human Resource Management and a Bachelor of Behavioural Science with a minor in Counselling. Having worked in a variety of industries from SMEs to large blue-chip organisations, Marisa is passionate about enriching employee experience, employee retention, and building leadership capability in people management.

Aimee Grigson

Aimee Grigson

WHS Advisor

Aimee has a strong understanding of Workplace Health and Safety Legislation and standards and has extensive HSEQ experience in a number of industries. Aimee has a great ability to engage across all levels of organisation, including field teams, leadership and external stakeholders. Aimee ensures Health and Safety Management Systems are compliant to legislation, effectively implemented and understood by all. Aimee has a Certificate IV in Work Health and Safety and qualifications in auditing and incident investigations. Aimee is passionate about coaching and developing small businesses towards a positive safety culture.