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PsychoSocial Injury Prevention

Manager training that provides comprehensive guidance to curtail psychosocial hazards.

There are currently three and soon to be four generations of humanity all working in the same workplace at the same time. This is unprecedented in our modern history. This means many workplace problems we face today have never been faced before. Each generation has a different way of thinking about, approaching and doing their work. Throw in a financial crisis and a global pandemic for good measure and what you have is an increase in identifiable workplace psychosocial hazards.

These are anything that has the potential to negatively impact on the mental wellbeing of staff in your workplace like stress, fatigue, bullying, violence, aggression, harassment, and burnout.

PsychoSocial Injury Legislation

New legislation passed in 2022 for NSW and harmonised across Australia in 2023 has now made it incumbent upon businesses to “take all reasonably practicable measures to prevent workplace psychosocial hazards”.


Properly trained managers know how to reduce psychosocial hazards in the workplace. Now more than ever they represent a tangible positive financial return on your training dollar.

The Safe Work Australia Managing Psychosocial Hazards at Work: Code of Practice, outlines the risk management requirements for an organisation to be compliant with training programs falling within the Control Risks requirement.

One priority area in the Code of Practice is workplace interactions or behaviours

I’ve reached my limit, i’m done asking for help, no one here cares about me.

The way workers interact with each other and other persons in the workplace, their behaviour and relationships can introduce psychosocial hazards. However, supportive leadership, positive relationships and professional and respectful interactions can help to minimise a range of psychosocial hazards. Leaders demonstrating poor behaviour are likely to contribute to poor organisational psychosocial culture.

Is My Organisation Exposed?

Unfortunately identifying positively with any of the factors below from the Code of Practice means your organisation is exposed.

Job demands
  • Intense or sustained high mental, physical or emotional effort required to do the job.
  • Unreasonable or excessive time pressures or role overload. 
  • High individual reputational, legal, career, safety or financial risk if mistakes occur. 
  • High vigilance required, limited margin of error and inadequate systems to prevent individual error. 
  • Shifts/work hours that do not allow adequate time for sleep and recovery.
  • Sustained low levels of physical, mental or emotional effort is required to do the job.
  • Long idle periods while high workloads are present, for example where workers need to wait for equipment or other workers.
  • Workers have little control over aspects of the work including how or when the job is done.
  • Workers have limited ability to adapt the way they work to changing or new situations.
  • Workers have limited ability to adopt efficiencies in their work.
  • Tightly scripted or machine/computer paced work. 
  • Prescriptive processes which do not allow workers to apply their skills and judgement.
  • Levels of autonomy not matched to workers’ abilities.
  • Tasks or jobs where workers have inadequate support including practical assistance and emotional support from managers and colleagues, or inadequate training, tools and resources for a task.
  • Uncertainty, frequent changes, conflicting roles or ambiguous responsibilities and expectations.
  • Insufficient consultation, consideration of new hazards or performance impacts when planning for, and implementing, change.
  • Insufficient support, information or training during change.
  • Not communicating key information to workers during periods of change.
  • Jobs with low positive feedback or imbalances between effort and recognition. 
  • High level of unconstructive negative feedback from managers or customers.
  • Low skills development opportunity or underused skills.
  • Inconsistent, unfair, discriminatory or inequitable management decisions and application of policies, including poor procedural justice.
  • Experiencing fear or extreme risks to the health or safety of themselves or others.
  • Exposure to natural disasters, or seriously injured or deceased persons.
  • Reading, hearing or seeing accounts of traumatic events, abuse or neglect. 
  • Supporting victims or investigating traumatic events, abuse or neglect.
  • Working in locations with long travel times, or where access to help, resources or communications is difficult or limited.
  • Violence, or threats of violence from other workers (including workers of other businesses), customers, patients or clients (including assault). 
  • Aggressive behaviour such as yelling or physical intimidation.
  • Repeated unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety.
    This includes bullying by workers, clients, patients, visitors or others.
  • Harassment due to personal characteristics such as age, disability, race, nationality, religion, political affiliation, sex, relationship status, family or carer responsibilities, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.
  • Sexual harassment – any unwelcome sexual advance, unwelcome request for sexual favours or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, in circumstances where a reasonable person, having regard to all the circumstances, would anticipate the possibility that the person harassed would be offended, humiliated or intimidated.
  • Harmful behaviour that does not amount to bullying (such as single instances) but creates a risk to health or safety.
  • Poor workplace relationships or interpersonal conflict between colleagues or from other businesses, clients or customers. 
  • Frequent disagreements, disparaging or rude comments, either from one person or multiple people, such as from clients or customers. A worker can be both the subject and the source of this behaviour.
  • Inappropriately excluding a worker from work-related activities.

If you are nodding along or shaking your head in disbelief at how broad ranging and common these are in most workplaces and realising yours is one of them, please get in touch with us.

The Data Speaks For Itself

The Inevitable Cost of Psychosocial Injury Claims To Your Organisation


*Managers represented the greatest increase in psychosocial injury claims across the last decade!

*Public Administration and Administration Support roles accounted for 15,845 serious claims in 2021, representing a possible $870M in serious injury claims. Managers need better skills, knowledge and practical experience in dealing with workplace stressors in order to prevent workplace psychosocial injury.

The Code of Practice identifies the following ways an organisation may choose to minimise the risks by changing:

  • the design of work, including job demands and tasks involved
  • systems of work, for example:
  • allocating tasks to match skills
  • ensuring sufficient time to complete tasks
  • support from supervisors and other workers
  • work environment and conditions
  • workplace interactions including ensuring respectful behaviours and relationships

All of the above becomes the responsibility of your already ‘over-worked’ and sometimes poorly equipped managers. 
They need your help. You need our help. We want to help.

Your managers are going to appreciate working for your organisation like never before.

Allan Adams and Deb Adams from Beyond IQ

You can fully expect to see a reduction in lost work time from absenteeism and an overall cost saving to operational budgets. Your people can fully expect to effectively identify and manage psychosocial hazards in your workplace.

  • We offer almost 30 years experience in leadership
  • We transform workplaces in as little as 3 months
  • We create professionally confident managers
  • We use behavioural science and neuroscience
  • We provide a service guarantee

All you’ve got to do is take some time out of your day to meet with us. We guarantee you two things:

  1. You are certainly underestimating the latest financial risk your organisation is exposed to, and
  2. We’ve created a program that provides meaningful change that will transform your organisation’s people leaders for the better while improving the working lives of everyone they are responsible for. 
Real-life Case Study

* No real names are used

Chris was the manager of an IT team in a government agency. With over 600 staff’ daily technology issues to address, the IT team were always under pressure to deliver. As is common in workplaces, one team member Jack was seen to be under-performing. Chris was too scared to manage Jack though. Based on previous interactions, Chris felt that as soon as he would start the conversation with Jack about his performance, Jack would accuse him of bullying. Therefore, Chris tried to ignore Jack’s performance issues and Jack was allowed to continue to under-perform. The result of course was the rest of the team had to pick up the slack.

The increased workload on the staff increased stress among the team. Some saw the situation as wholly unfair. They decided to ‘take action’ and requested a meeting with Chris to speak about his poor management of the situation and how it was impacting on the rest of the team.

“How am I supposed to do anything about it!” Chris yelled at them.

Chris was also experiencing stress in the situation as he knew that things were unfair. He could see the team pulling more than their fair share and felt helpless in the situation due to a lack of effective manager training and his own feelings of overwhelm. Chris was operating from a position of self-protection in not wanting to be accused by Jack of bullying. Chris was finding the role of managing staff all too hard on top of his ‘paid work’ and soon Chris went on sick leave. He just needed a break! Chris was away from the workplace for a couple of weeks which ended up being six weeks (he just couldn’t face going back there) – doctor’s orders, to deal with the stress.

Feeling like they had been abandoned, the team turned on Jack and increasingly isolated him in the workplace. The Acting Manager deliberately didn’t give him work and soon rumours began to circulate about how ‘useless and lazy’ Jack was.

When Chris returned to work, he spoke with his director about having Jack moved to another position in the organisation as ‘he was the cause of Chris’ stress’. Because other managers had heard how ‘useless and lazy’ Jack was, none of them wanted Jack in their teams.

Because Jack was now experiencing the feelings of isolation and uselessness in his workplace, he went on sick leave – doctor’s orders to deal with the stress. He never came back, but he did lodge a worker’s compensation claim.

Present in this situation were a range of psychosocial hazards that contributed to the poor performance of Chris and Jack all of which resulted in the harmful behaviour, such as:

  • lack of support or training to perform their roles
  • lack of clarity on the role and requirements
  • poor interpersonal relationships

The outcome for this agency was:

  • a settlement pay-out to Chris of a full year’s salary
  • a settlement pay-out to Jack of a full year’s salary
  • loss of staff morale and productivity

The impact to the rest of the staff is an incalculable cost, but it is likely to equal the payouts Jack and Chris received.

Managing unsatisfactory performance or poor behaviour is a necessary part of managing staff and managers should not feel ‘scared’ to do this part of their job. Properly conducted management actions are necessary to prevent or control psychosocial hazards. It is worth remembering that poor performance may be the result of multiple factors, including psychosocial hazards.

There were many things that could have been put in place to prevent this situation from occurring.

Beyond IQ was engaged to work with this team after the events to prevent future similar situations. We will do the same for your organisation.

The risk management process involves four steps:


Identify Hazards

Find out what could cause harm


Assess Risks

Understand the nature of the harm the hazard could cause.  how serious the harm could be and the likelihood of it happening.


Control Risks

Implement the most effective control measures that are reasonably practicable in the circumstances and ensure they remain effective over time. This means: 


Review Control Measures

Ensure they are working as planned and make changes as required.

All of these steps must be supported by consultation.

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