Should HSRs & Others be Trained on Psychosocial Hazards & Risks?
Weekly WHS Article 18th December 2022
Should HSRs be trained on psychosocial hazards & risks?
The answer is yes.
The SafeWork NSW Code of Practice, Managing Psychosocial Hazards at Work, at page 11 states that;
“A HSR should:
undertake training on psychosocial hazards and risks, their duties and risk management, and
talk to workers they are representing about any psychosocial hazards and work-related risks and monitor actions taken to address concerns, and
raise concerns about psychosocial hazards and risks in relevant meetings with the PCBU and provide feedback to the affected workers whilst protecting privacy and confidentiality where required.”
What about Managers, Supervisors & Health & Safety Committee members?
Yes, they should be trained on psychosocial hazards and risks.
Many workplaces do not have HSRs so PCBUs use their Managers or Supervisors or Health & Safety Committee members to talk to workers about WHS matters that concern them and pass those concerns on to the PCBU and feedback to the workers. That includes psychosocial hazards and risks.
There is a long and detailed list of 16 common psychosocial hazards in Figure 1 on pages 7-8 of the above Code of Practice. It is obvious that there is a lot involved in successfully dealing with these hazards. It is clear that Managers, Supervisors and Health and Safety Committee members need to be trained on psychosocial hazards and risks so that they can be effective.
What about providing information, training, instruction or supervision? The answer is yes. Information, training, instruction or supervision are all needed to protect all persons in the workplace from the risk of harm from psychosocial hazards. It is a part of a PCBU’s primary duty of care – section 19(3)(f) WHS Act. It says;
A PCBU “must ensure so far as is reasonably practicable the provision of any information, training, instruction or supervision that is necessary to protect all persons from risks to their health and safety arising from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking”.
The above Code of Practice Managing Psychosocial Hazards at Work provides more detail at page 22
“The PCBU must provide adequate and suitable information, training, instruction or supervision to workers (including supervisors and managers) which has regard to and includes:
the nature of the work and tasks to be carried out by workers
the psychosocial hazards and risks associated with the work
the required control measures including safe systems of work and how to comply with these
how workers should report and respond if a problem or risk arises, and
ensure information, training and instruction is readily understood by any person it is provided to.
A competent person (someone who has acquired through training, qualification or experience, the necessary knowledge and skills to safely carry out the task) should provide the information, training, instruction and supervision.”
Note The quotations in the above article that are from the SafeWork NSW Code of Practice Managing Psychosocial Hazards at Work which is owned by the NSW Department of Customer Service, and this publication is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence. For more information, visit www.nsw.gov.au/copyright.
18th January 2023