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Step 1: Identify hazards - FAQs

To help identify psychosocial hazards, PCBUs can observe the workplace. This includes observing how work is performed and how people interact with each other.

Things to look out for include:

  • How is work performed, including the physical, mental and emotional demands of the tasks and activities? (e.g. are workers rushed? Is work delayed? Is there a work backlog?)
  • How do workers, managers, supervisors and others interact and how are inappropriate behaviours or conflicts dealt with? (e.g. are workers, customers and clients respectful?)
  • Are there problems with service delivery, poor relationships, the presence of emotional distress, or cultural or community issues that could lead to conflict or violence at work?
  • Does the culture at work support or tolerate inappropriate behaviour? (e.g. are behaviours like name-calling; teasing; racist, sexual or gendered jokes or vilification; crude language; swearing; or hazing new or young workers ignored or tolerated?)
  • Have any changes occurred at work which may affect psychological health? (e.g. are workers being adequately informed about organisational change?)
  • Does the work environment create psychosocial hazards? (e.g. are workers isolated or exposed to biological hazards such as uncontrolled infectious pathogens or bodily fluids?)
  • Does the nature of the work inherently involve psychosocial hazards and how frequently is this occurring? (e.g. how often are workers exposed to traumatic events?)
  • What are the working arrangements? Do they pose psychosocial risks to workers and others? (e.g. are workers working alone, in contact with the public, or engaged in shift work or working after hours?)
  • Does the workplace support behaviours that promote psychological health? (e.g. is work-life balance encouraged? Are reasonable working hours maintained? Is communication inclusive and respectful? Is return to work following injury proactive and supportive?)

PCBUs must consult workers when identifying hazards and assessing risks to health and safety.

Workers will generally be aware of aspects of work which create psychosocial hazards and may have suggestions on how to manage these hazards.

The way workers are consulted must be decided in conjunction with workers. If there is an agreed procedure for consultation, this procedure must be followed.