Managing Psychosocial Risk at Work

By: Editorial Drake WellbeingHub

psychosocial risk in the workplace

Managing Psychosocial Risk at Work

Meaningful and safe work is good for people’s mental health and wellbeing. It provides structure and purpose, a sense of identity and opportunities to develop skills and increased feelings of self-worth. It is not only beneficial to the individual, but to the organisation too. Unfortunately, there are some circumstances where work has an undesirable impact on one's health and wellbeing and with recent changes in WHS regulations, organisations now need to be more of aware of the risks and work towards minimising these risks at all costs.  

What is psychosocial risk? 

A psychosocial risk is a risk to the health or safety of a worker or other person arising from a psychosocial hazard. Psychosocial hazards are aspects of work that may cause a stress response, which in turn can lead to psychological or physical harm. 

A hazard arises from or is related to  

  • the design or management of work, 
  • a work environment,  
  • plant at a workplace, or 
  • workplace interactions or behaviours 

Some psychosocial hazards include: 

  • role overload or underload  
  • exposure to traumatic events or content 
  • remote or isolated work  
  • low job control 
  • bullying 
  • sexual harassment 
  • aggression or violence 

Did you know? Almost 8,000 Australians are compensated for work-related mental health conditions each year. Psychological injuries usually have longer recovery times, higher costs and mean more time away from work than physical injuries. An employer should always use a risk management process to identify what the hazards are, assess the risks they create and implement the right controls for the specific work area. 

What is the employer's responsibility? 

Recognising and managing risks in the workplace that may lead to physical or psychological injury is an essential part of work health and safety and a legal responsibility for employers. Specifically, employers are responsible to manage hazards and risks and to create a safe, healthy and productive workplace. This applies to psychosocial risks, which is now a legal responsibility for employers operating in some Australian States. 

Safe Work Australia have recommended a four-step risk management process to assist in the management of both physical and psychosocial hazards. All these steps must be supported by consultation with your workers.  

These steps include: 

  • identifying psychosocial hazards and risks,  
  • assess the type and frequency and severity of psychosocial hazards and risks,  
  • develop prevention plans and implement control measures to eliminate or minimise the risk,   
  • review control measures to ensure they remain effective. 




If you’re interested in exploring how Drake WellbeingHub can support your organisation through these changes in legislation, we have several services available.  

Our scientific workplace wellbeing survey identifies psychosocial risks in the workplace and six factors at the individual, team and workplace level that contribute to a person’s psychological wellbeing. These six factors include Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment and Health. This tool compliments the People at Work psychosocial risk assessment tool and together, these tools give you a comprehensive analysis of the psychological climate of your workplace so that you’re guided towards a targeted approach to managing the psychological health, safety and wellbeing of your workers. If you’re after something more bespoke, we offer a range of different consulting service packages - explore our consulting services today.  


Stay informed on all things wellbeing in the workplace and help your organisation thrive!

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