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Updating the Psychological Health OHS Regulations

Updating the Psychological Health OHS Regulations

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With WorkCover mental injury claims growing significantly in recent years, the Andrews Labor Government is introducing new regulations that will require employers to treat workplace psychological hazards and injuries in same way as physical hazards and injuries – recognising that they can be equally harmful to workers’ safety and wellbeing.

ANMF (Vic Branch) welcomes the draft regulations as a means of improving the working conditions for our members, but we would also welcome identifying fatigue as a psychosocial hazard.

Recognising fatigue

The pandemic has exacerbated and highlighted the fatigue issues faced by nurses, midwives and carers, but these risks are always present and are not only as a result of the pandemic.

Our submission recommends the addition of fatigue as a stand-alone psychosocial hazard in the regulations, with a specific requirement to treat it in the same way as bullying and occupational violence & aggression (OVA) by requiring employers to have a prevention plan to address it and its associated risks.

Psychological hazard prevention plans

The Branch’s submission also recommends a requirement for employers to have prevention plans for OVA, bullying, exposure to traumatic events, high job demand and sexual harassment.

This would be similar to the current requirement under the Public Sector EBA for employers to have an action plan on OVA.

Final recommendations

Our submission also focuses on  making it easier for HSRs to interpret the regulations. In addition, we have suggested the introducing of a requirement for employers to notify WorkSafe of their employees’ psychological injuries, similar to the current incident notification requirement, under the OHS Act, that focuses on physical injuries.

We believe that psychological injuries need as much if not more attention from WorkSafe, and this recommendation would go some way to improve this.

Subject to ministerial approval, the Branch expects the regulations to be finalised by this month and begin implementation from July 2022.