Managing Psychosocial Risk

Psychosocial hazards are sources of harm at work. They can show up in a number of ways, from how work is organised and supervised to the work environment and equipment provided.

Tyree Energy Technologies Building, UNSW Kensington campus

Psychosocial risk management focuses on identifying these hazards and reducing the level of psychological harm that occurs as a result.

Post-pandemic the focus on mental health and wellbeing, and workplace culture has increased, and with that the pressure on organisations to actively do something and take these hazards seriously.

UNSW is implementing a systematic risk-based approach to supporting employees' psychosocial safety at UNSW; which focuses on preventing and minimising psychological harm from occurring in the first instance, while enhancing and developing strategies to optimize employee wellbeing.

To effectively and successfully address this at UNSW we need a collaborative approach. This approach acknowledges the joint responsibility for workplace health & safety between the employer and employee. The key elements of the approach include:

  • Incorporation of psychosocial risk management in UNSW’s health and safety policy
  • Incorporation of psychosocial risks in UNSW’s risk register
  • Equip all managers to support their teams and support employees to understand how to manage psychosocial hazards and risk.
  • Embedding psychosocial hazard and risk training into our core competency health & safety training.
  • Developing a staff mental health and wellbeing strategy.
  • Embedding psychosocial risk and impact on mental health into our safety management system as it is developed.

We want all UNSW employees to feel safe at work, no matter what they are doing. Work is a significant part of most people’s lives, and we want to create an environment where everyone can thrive. We have developed some guidance on what to do when someone discloses something to you, or you are worried about a colleague and where to get assistance. 

In line with the NSW Code of Practice we are focused on the following psychosocial hazards:

  • Role overload (high workloads or job demands)
  • Role underload (low workloads or job demands)
  • Exposure to traumatic events
  • Role conflict or lack of role clarity
  • Low job control
  • Conflict or poor workplace relationships between workers and their supervisors and managers and co-workers
  • Poor support from supervisors and managers
  • Workplace violence
  • Bullying
  • Harassment including sexual harassment.
  • Inadequate reward and recognition
  • Hazardous physical working environments
  • Remote or isolated work
  • Poor procedural justice (processes for making decisions)
  • Poor organisational change consultation

For further information please see Code of Practice: Managing psychosocial hazards at work | SafeWork NSW


When you or someone reports to you that they have been exposed to a psychosocial hazard, near miss or sustained an injury the following process should be followed:

  • A report should be entered into the safety system Salus by selecting the incident/near miss tab
  • A deidentified report can be made
  • The individual involved can put in a report or it can be completed by someone else
  • For confidential reporting tick the confidential box at the bottom of the page
  • If the confidential box is selected the report will only go to Safer Communities, where we will take a person-centred approach and reach out to you to discuss support and what you would like to do next.
  • You can also choose to make a non-confidential report. This would then go to your direct supervisor and the relevant members of the safety team.

Gendered violence

Gendered violence is an inclusive term that spans hazing, dating violence, domestic and family violence, sexualised and racialised bullying, sexual misconduct, including sex-based discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Respect at work

Workplace sexual harassment is not a women’s issue: it is a societal issue, which every Australian, and every Australian workplace, can contribute to addressing.


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