Managing psychosocial hazards in Queensland's resources industries
Workplaces have an obligation to protect the health and safety of workers under Queensland's resources safety and health legislation. This includes managing the risk of exposure to psychosocial hazards.
Management of psychosocial hazards should take a similar approach to other health and safety risks on-site, using a risk management approach:
- Identify how, when, and where psychosocial hazards may occur.
- Assess the likelihood a worker may be exposed to a psychosocial hazard.
- Understand the potential consequences to worker wellbeing and health resulting from exposure to psychosocial hazards.
- Implement appropriate controls to effectively manage the risk.
- Monitor and review the implementation and effectiveness of controls.
Workplace psychosocial hazards
Psychosocial hazards include a broad range of factors relating to the workplace and employment that can impact a worker's psychological health and safety. These hazards relate to the psychological, social, and cultural characteristics of a workplace, as well as physical components.
Hazards can include – but are not limited to – work demands, low job control, poor support, traumatic events or material, remote or isolated work, poor physical environment, violence and aggression, bullying, and harassment, including sexual harassment.
Resource workers can potentially be exposed to a number of psychosocial hazards through their employment. There may also be additional factors that relate to fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) work arrangements including remote and isolated work, high work demands, shift length and roster design, 24-hour schedules, and accommodation arrangements.
How psychosocial hazards impact health
Some psychosocial hazards may have the potential to cause harm on their own, such as exposure to traumatic events. However, in most cases individuals will be impacted by multiple psychosocial hazards, which can affect their psychological health and safety.
Exposure to psychosocial hazards can contribute to stress which can lead to psychological harm or injuries and physical health issues. Health impacts from exposure to psychosocial hazards can include anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, sleep disorders, suicidal thoughts, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal injuries, immune deficiencies, and gastrointestinal conditions. Assault may also result in physical injury to the individual.
A number of Australian agencies have developed resources to assist in managing psychosocial hazards:
- Safe Work Australia: Model Code of Practice: Managing psychosocial hazards at work
- Workplace Health and Safety Queensland – Managing the risk of psychosocial hazards at work Code of Practice 2022
- Queensland Resources Council: Blueprint for mental health and wellbeing (PDF, 7.8MB) and Mental health and wellbeing toolkit (PDF, 440KB)
- SafeWork NSW: Code of practice – Managing psychosocial hazards at work (PDF, 1MB)
- Western Australia, Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety: Mentally healthy workplaces hub.
Counselling and support
A range of counselling and support options are available, including:
- Mates in Mining – phone the MATES Helpline on 1300 642 111, 24 hours/7 days a week (24/7).
- Beyond Blue – 24/7 advice and support by phoning 1300 22 4636, chat online or by email.
- Lifeline – provides crisis support 24/7, as well as counselling, support groups and suicide prevention services. Phone 13 11 14, text 0477 13 11 14 or use the online crisis chat.
- MensLine Australia – a 24/7 professional telephone and online counselling service providing support to Australian men. Phone 1300 78 99 78, chat online or organise a video chat.
- headspace – online, telephone support, and counselling for young people (12–25 years of age) and their families and friends. Phone 1800 650 890, 9am–1am AEDT / 7 days, or chat online or email.
- Suicide Call Back Service – 24/7 support is available if you or someone you know is feeling suicidal. Phone 1300 659 467.
- Last reviewed: 26 Aug 2022
- Last updated: 25 Nov 2022