June 2021 saw the release of ISO 45003 which provides guidance on the management of psychosocial risks and promoting well-being at work. This is a world first international standard for managing psychosocial risk in the workplace and is incorporated into the broader family of ISO 45000 Occupational Health and safety (OH&S) management system guidance. Given the current global and national challenges that our communities face in caring for their mental health; the release of this guidance is timely. As far back as 2018/19 with the release of the productivity commission paper on the state of mental illness in Australia (costing $20 billion annually) commented that we have historically been too reactionary, although there is a swell of change occurring. Since 2019, natural disasters such as bushfires and then floods strongly impacted our communities. Now our focus has been dominated by the current COVID-19 pandemic everyone is still experiencing. Employers and Governments are being challenged to plan proactively to protect and mitigate mental health risk factors.
Around 20% of the Australian population have experienced a common mental health disorder in the previous 12 months. And approximately 45% experience one event in their lifetime. There is no doubt that our colleagues and workplaces will be interacting with people who require support at some point.
“Now, we have a well-thought and practical guide that can assist businesses. It is one thing to understand the standard, & another to implement it effectively” says Zac Mullane, a Senior Consultant in our Gallagher Workplace Risk team.
What does this mean for my organisation?
Importantly, ISO 45003 very much aligns to the established OHS standard (ISO 45001:2018) in keeping with the same principles of managing workplace risks systematically. Various clauses refer to the following specifics where workplaces have generally struggled to manage risk:
“Many businesses lean on ‘informal’, slightly subjective practices which often lack clarity and do not necessarily support workers. You can systematically manage the psychosocial risk of your workers, without stripping away your inherent workplace culture. If anything, it should add-to, challenge and enhance it. The best way to implement the standard should first involve understanding your workplace, perceptions of workers and to measure this. There has to be a baseline from which a steering group or team of leaders can use to formulate a strategy or plan. From here, you can prioritise initiatives based upo any findings or recommendations that are applicable,”
Gallagher Workplace Risk has a team of consultants that can assist your organisation by:
For more information, or to get in contact about Psychological Safety at your workplace here.