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Psychosocial Hazards 

Understanding what causes Work-Related Stress

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Psychosocial Hazards are described as aspects of work that can cause psychological/mental injury, such as work-related stress.  Exposure to ongoing work-related stress or traumatic stress is linked to stress-related illness' and insurance claims.

Under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, every business is responsible for stopping anyone from being killed, injured, or becoming ill because of a workplace or work.  

All employees also have a responsibility not to put themselves in harm's way and adhere to any instructions given by the business regarding health and safety.

Physical health hazards are well known, documented and monitored across businesses and are generally looked after by a safety professional. Psychosocial/Mental health hazards are somewhat misunderstood in comparison. 


The confusion comes when understanding whose responsibility it is to look after it as a whole. Some factors are covered by HR and others by OHS, leaving an opportunity for things to be missed or not coherent in information gathering and monitoring - leaving both individuals and companies at risk.

Let's start by going over what factors are included within psychosocial hazards within a business.

  • Role Clarity

  • Work

  • Organisational Justice

  • Change Management

  • Reward and Recognition

  • Harassment

  • Support

  • Environment

  • Location

Depending on the type of business you have, there will be slight differences in what these factors cover. 

Mindsafe dashboard

Psychosocial Factors


Role Clarity

  • Confusion over what is expected of them

  • Competing demands, for instance, if someone has many reporting lines/supervisors

  • Change in their job role with no consultation due to changes within the business. 

  • Being asked to complete tasks with little or no information given


Change Management

  • Lack of planning and disorganisation

  • Lack of consultations with team and stakeholders to obtain buy-in

  • Lack of  support or direction during a transition

  • Lack of communication or set of expectations



  • A Lack of support from their team or management

  • Lack of human interaction due to location

  • Lack of feedback 

  • Lack of growth opportunities

  • Lack of guidance on tasks or information



  • Inability to influence their work or environment

  • The feeling of being over directed - Micromanagement

  • Lack of autonomy over their job and tasks

  • Repetitive tasks such as machine work

  • Lack of variety within the job

  • Time demands

  • Emotional demands

  • Physical demands


Reward and Recognition

  • Efforts not being recognised or acknowledged

  • Lack of performance consultations or goal setting

  • Not feeling appreciated

  • Lack of intrinsic (emotional) and extrinsic (external, such as a bonus) reward



  • Unplanned overtime

  • Weather - Hot or cold

  • Noise from machinery or other people in the office

  • Lighting 

  • Workspace


Organisational Justice

  • Lack or inadequate policies and procedures

  • Unfair treatment between departments, i.e. bias or favouritism

  • Unfair treatment between team members, i.e. bias or favouritism 

  • Lack of appropriate action to deal with inappropriate behaviour

  • Lack of consultations when decisions are being made that will affect them

  • Lack of transparency about the company strategy or direction



  • Violence and aggression

  • Bullying

  • Sexual

  • Lack of psychological safety so low reporting numbers



  • FIFO

  • DIDO

  • Remote working

  • Night shifts

  • Shift patterns

Mental Wellbeing Risk Management



Once you have understood what potential hazards and risks are within your business, the next step is to identify them.  Bringing transparency to areas that need attention to reduce workplace stress and psychological injury to your team.


During this process, it is essential to consult with team members to obtain insights into their perspectives and experiences within the business.

Gathering data such as staff turnover, absenteeism levels, productivity and incident reports can also help in evaluating the risk.

Controlling the Risks

Following risk identification and assessment, the next step is to strategise appropriate control measures to reduce risks to team members and the business.  Consultations on appropriate control measures with your team are considered good practice during this step.

Measure & Adjust

Continuous monitoring and evaluating of psychosocial hazards and risk is a key part of the process.  Tracking key indicators for progress and trends, making the necessary adjustments to ensure the mental safety of the team.


Things to consider

Workplaces cannot be free from injury or critical incidents if team members do not feel confident to report unsafe practices or risks. This is the same when taking part in assessments and giving honest feedback.  

People need to feel psychologically safe to speak up, feeling heard and supported. Businesses are more at risk of preventable business failures or human safety failures when psychological safety is low. This is why action and communication are so important during the process.

By implementing our MindSafe system, you will benefit from the following:

  • Being an independent company, we create a safe place to encourage high levels of honest feedback during assessments and consultations and obtain higher participation rates than similar in-house processes

  • An end-to-end process called MindSafe, to reduce the exposure of psychosocial risks to your team and business, preventing mental injury and reducing stress

  • Debrief sessions - providing management with an overview of the assessment and consultation into solutions.

  • Personal touch - we manage the process with you, from start to finish.  Giving you access to the assessment results through our dashboard, allowing easy monitoring of key indicators and progress.

  • All team access to practical well-being tools and training via our app. Promoting positive mental health and support - enabling us to offer high-impact information and learning to areas that require strengthening.

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Find out more on how Proactive Action's psychological risk management system, MindSafe, can support you and your business today - call us on 1300-114-818 or email us at


 We look forward to talking to you.

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