What is Work Health and Safety (WHS)?
Work health and safety (sometimes called occupational health and safety) is how we manage risks to the health and safety of everyone at work.
Under Australian law, we all have a right to a safe workplace.
The law also says that we all have a responsibility to work safely.
Those two things together mean that if you see or experience unsafe things or unsafe practices in a workplace, you have a right and a responsibility to speak up.
The law says that if you speak up, there is an expectation that unsafe things and unsafe practices in your workplace will be made safe for you.
This guide will help you to understand the following:
> How does Work Health and Safety (WHS) apply to T&Is?
> What is a psychosocial hazard?
> What are the signs of psychosocial harm?
> What can I do to prevent these issues from even arising in the first place?
> How do we make everyone aware of the reality of psychosocial hazards in the work of T&I?
> What should I do right now if I am experiencing harm at work?
How does Work Health and Safety (WHS) apply to T&Is?
When you think of work health and safety, you probably think of a building or mine site, loose electrical cables, or some other physical work or hazard.
When you think of risk or harm or injury, you probably think of falls or sprains or broken bones; in other words, harm to your physical health.
Under the law, mental health and wellbeing are equally as important as physical health.
In our work as T&Is, we are much more likely to suffer psychological harm than physical harm. That is why it’s important that we can identify what psychological harm is and when it’s happening.
Situations at work that can cause psychological harm are called psychosocial hazards.
What is a psychosocial hazard?
A hazard is something which has the potential to cause you injury or ill-health.
Any work situation or location that might affect your mental health could be a psychosocial hazard.
Below is a list of examples where we as T&I practitioners might find a psychosocial hazard at work.
Note that this is not a complete list, these are only some examples. You should not ignore a hazard at work because it is not on this list. Always seek help if you need it.