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  • Mark Shaw

Removing complexity from managing psychological safety

With the introduction of the 2022 Queensland “Managing the risk of psychosocial

hazards at work - Code of Practice”, the WHS Act imposes a mandatory duty on business owners and managers to manage risks to both physical and psychological health, so far as is reasonably practicable.

Sounds OK until you read and try to implement the 67-page Code of Practice. It’s complicated. It discusses risk, a psychological health continuum, employee consultation, types of psychological hazards, and the legal implication of non-compliance.

For example, one specific requirement is that business owners and managers “must also ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that other persons (e.g. visitors, delivery people, clients, patients and their families) are not put at risk from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking” (page 7 of 67).

Another is “an officer’s duty is immediate, positive, and proactive, and is owed by each individual officer of a PCBU (business)” (page 8 of 67).

This code is far-reaching.

But how can we take such a complex all-encompassing requirement and implement a process that is simple, proactive, and will support management action if issues arise?

By applying our philosophy of “move from complexity to simplicity” and using our BARS User Interface, we have delivered yet another easy-to-use HR /Risk management solution that meets the legislative requirements without imposing excessive time and cost to comply.

The key is taking the time to understand the core elements of the Code of Practice. In this case, the Code requires incorporation of a proactive risk management approach to assess a range of issues against the psychological health continuum and then proactively take preventative action.

Our solution is a questionnaire where individual employees assess five issues against the four-scale psychological health continuum. The results then allow immediate, positive, and proactive actions by management on potential of growing psychological risks. One inbuilt outcome may be further investigation by completing one of five other short surveys.

Moving from complexity to simplicity while maintaining full quality control and defensibility of process and outcome is achievable. This example is the latest in my 20 years’ experience that has achieved similar outcomes in many other HR and risk management applications.

Improve the experience and give managers back valuable time by minimising their time and effort and compliance activities.

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