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Psychological hazards

Psychological hazards are aspects of the work environment and the way that work is organised that are associated with mental disorders and/or physical injury or illness. When psychosocial hazards are not effectively managed, they can negatively impact on organisational measures including productivity, absenteeism and turnover.

How can these hazards affect workers' psychological health?

If not managed effectively, psychosocial hazards can impact on workers' psychological and physical health and wellbeing. They can also adversely affect:

  • job satisfaction
  • organisational commitment
  • conflict in the worker's family life.

The role of contact centre is to provide customer service, either across the counter, by telephone and/or through electronic means. This work environment poses a unique combination of risks to psychological health including:

  • a potential for a high level of emotional demands
  • expectations that workers provide consistently high levels of customer service
  • high levels of work monitoring through systems and by supervisors
  • perceptions of low organisational, supervisor, and/or peer support.

Psychological hazards that can negatively impact on a worker's health and safety include:

How to assess the risks

Risks to contact centre workers psychological health can be identified and assessed through:

  • anonymous surveys (such as People at Work)
  • effective consultative practices
  • effective communication processes
  • review of injury reports
  • review of absence data.