Psychological health regulations open for comment

Victorian employers, workers and members of the public can now have their say on proposed regulations to better prevent workplace psychological harm.

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Published: 17 February 2022

Public comment has opened on the proposed Occupational Health and Safety Amendment (Psychological Health) Regulations, which will provide clearer guidance to employers on their obligations to safeguard workers from mental injury.

WorkSafe Executive Director of Health and Safety Narelle Beer said work-related psychological injuries continued to grow, with mental injury expected to account for a third of all worker's compensation claims by the end of the decade.

"With a rising number of people seeking help for work-related psychological injury, it is more important than ever that employers do everything reasonably practicable to provide a psychologically safe and healthy workplace," Dr Beer said.

"These proposed regulations will put psychosocial hazards on equal footing with physical hazards and recognise that they can be just as harmful to employees' safety and wellbeing."

The proposed regulations will:

  • Promote the importance of psychological health and safety in the workplace.
  • Clarify employer requirements to identify and control risks associated with psychosocial hazards and to review and, if necessary, revise risk-control measures associated with psychosocial hazards.
  • Require employers to put in place a written prevention plan for certain psychosocial hazards.
  • Require certain employers to periodically report data on complaints of bullying, sexual harassment and aggression and violence to WorkSafe.

To help employers meet their duties under the OHS Act and proposed regulations, WorkSafe is also developing a psychological health compliance code.

The compliance code will include information on how to identify and control risks to psychological health and, while not mandatory, duty holders that comply with the code will be taken to have complied with their duties under the OHS Act.

WorkSafe has consulted widely on the proposed regulations, including with employer and employee representatives, industry experts, medical professionals, legal practitioners and people with lived experience.

The public consultation on the regulations and associated Regulatory Impact Statement will close for submissions on 31 March, 2022.

To view the proposed regulations or make a submission, visit https://engage.vic.gov.au/proposed-psychological-health-regulations .