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Does your organisation need to manage psychosocial conditions in the workplace? 

18 October 2022

Australia’s model work health and safety (WHS) laws are made up of the model WHS Act, model WHS Regulations and model Codes of Practice published by SafeWork Australia). 

As a result of changes to these WHS laws in June 2022, a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) is now required: 

  • so far as is reasonably practicable, to ensure workers and other people in the workplace are not exposed to risks to their psychological health and safety as well as to risks to their physical health and safety 
  • to eliminate psychosocial risks in the workplace, or if that is not reasonably practicable, to minimise these risks so far as is reasonably practicable 

These changes are being implemented across the states and territories.

NSW has formally implemented these changes from 1 October 2022 under its Work Health and Safety Regulation 2017 (NSW), and SafeWork NSW has published a Code of Practice for Managing psychosocial hazards at work

WorkSafe Western Australia has adapted the NSW Code to develop its own Code of practice - Psychosocial hazards in the workplace.

Victoria (the only state or territory that is not part of the harmonised WHS scheme) is in the process of amending its Occupational Health and Safety Regulations2017 (Vic) to include amendments addressing psychosocial risks. The proposed new regulations are expected to start this year.

Queensland has passed Work Health and Safety (Psychosocial Risks) Amendment Regulation 2022 (QLD) to incorporate these changes from 1 April 2023. 

For more information on the meaning of psychosocial hazards and how to create a separate process to control the risks posed by psychosocial hazards as required under these changes to the model WHS Regulations, see SafeWork Australia’s Model Code of Practice: Managing psychosocial hazards at work

Find out more about Work Health and Safety laws in our free resources.