In Brief - Responding to complaints, incidents and reports is a critical step in managing the risk of psychosocial hazards. There are various ways a worker may report or raise a psychosocial hazard including completing an incident report or advising their human resources or health and safety representative.
Encouraging reporting of psychosocial hazards
Early reporting of psychosocial hazards should be encouraged so that hazards can be managed before they cause harm.
As outlined on page 35 of the Managing the Risk of Psychosocial Hazards at Work Code of Practice (Code of Practice), workers may not report psychosocial hazards because they:
see the hazard as "part of the job";
believe it is not serious enough to report;
think the report will be not handled respectfully or confidentially;
feel they will be blamed;
believe reporting may expose them to additional harm, discrimination or disadvantage;
do not understand the process for reporting psychosocial hazards.
Part 6 of the Work Health and Safety Act provides protection for workers and others from being victimised or discriminated against for raising psychological health issues, or from being coerced into not reporting issues, by making it an offence to engage in this conduct.
Responding to complaints, incidents and reports
A person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) must respond to complaints, incidents and reports relating to psychosocial hazards. Any investigation or response should be proactive, objective, fair, timely and consistent. A PCBU should ensure procedural fairness for all parties involved.
The formality and comprehensiveness of any investigation and response should be proportional to the level of risk, the seriousness of actual or potential harm, the number of workers affected, and the size of the business.
Page 37 of the Code of Practice includes a practical table of principles that should be adopted when responding to reports, complaints or incident.
This is commentary published by Colin Biggers & Paisley for general information purposes only. This should not be relied on as specific advice. You should seek your own legal and other advice for any question, or for any specific situation or proposal, before making any final decision. The content also is subject to change. A person listed may not be admitted as a lawyer in all States and Territories. © Colin Biggers & Paisley, Australia 2023.