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Weekly WHS Article 6th June 2024

SafeWork NSW announces psychosocial hazards blitz on large businesses in New South Wales

On 22 May 2024, SafeWork NSW released its Psychosocial Health and Safety Strategy 2024–2026. Under the Strategy, SafeWork NSW has stated that it will increase regulatory action against high-risk and large businesses, as well as government agencies.

If you are a business operating in New South Wales with 200 or more staff, then SafeWork NSW may target you in the next 12 months as it implements its program to ensure compliance with the new psychosocial hazard laws which were enacted in 2022 and can be found in the latest version of the NSW WHS Regulation 2017.

SafeWork NSW will visit your workplace

More specifically, SafeWork inspectors will conduct what they will be calling “Psychosocial WHS Checks” during their visits to workplaces with 200 or more staff.

It is the overarching duty of all businesses, organizations, and corporations to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its people. How these requirements are enacted rests directly with the directors and CEOs to ensure requirements are met.

Directors and CEOs that fail to comply with their work health and safety (WHS) duties will face regulatory action, and a potential WHS prosecution in the case of a serious or repeated breach. See Section 19 and 27 of the NSW WHS Act 2011.

If you are a large business with 200 or more employees, you may benefit from reviewing your policies, processes, and measures in preparation of these inspections.

What is a psychosocial hazard?

A psychosocial hazard is an aspect of the work environment that may induce a stress response in a worker or other person, leading to psychological or physical harm. Non-physical hazards and risks like these must be managed in the same way as physical risks.How to manage risks and hazards, physical and non-physical is covered in the NSW WHS Regulation 2017.

Whose responsibly is this?

It is the duty of the business to manage risks and directors and CEOs must ensure those duties translate to measures and actions that exist in the workplace and are monitored. This includes ensuring staff are supervised to follow the rules and procedures in place for managed risks that have been given control measures due to not being able to be eliminated entirely.None of this “new” but the extension of risk management to non-physical risks may be new to some businesses.  Formerly it was the Fair Work Commission that dealt with psychosocial incidents and cases. This has been handed to the Regulator, SafeWork NSW, in accordance with the amendments to the WHS laws.

If you would like help to review your WHS Management system with the view of preparing for future visits from SafeWork NSW please fee free to contact us here at Courtenell.

We may be able to help. Call Stephen Georgulis or Kevin Gaskell on 02 9552 2066, or via email, or

6th June 2024

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