World Day of Safety and Health at Work should motivate businesses to focus on employees' mental health
On World Day for Safety and Health at Work, CQUniversity’s Head of Safety Science Dr Aldo Raineri has revealed Australia’s workplaces still face challenges around recognising and supporting the mental health of their employees.
Dr Raineri cited a recent survey published by The Next Step, which revealed that an alarming 44% of people surveyed said that most managers within their organisation don’t know how to build a mentally healthy tea
The Next Step is a strategic recruitment and search consultancy dedicated exclusively to the HR sector. Their survey further revealed only 8 per cent of leadership teams were rated 'very good' at monitoring and costing the factors that indicate poor mental health, such as absenteeism, presenteeism, employee turnover and stress claims.
“Employers have traditionally not considered mental health as a workplace issue, though arguably, it has been since the inception of modern workplace health and safety legislation in Australia,” Dr Raineri said.
“However, realisations in this area have emerged largely piecemeal throughout the end of last century and early this century.
“These have taken the form of bullying and harassment, sexual harassment, discrimination etc., and these have largely been dealt with on a piecemeal basis.
“Over the last 10-15 years a growing realisation has emerged that the workplace can constitute a major factor in mental health and employer attitude and behaviour, shift rostering, hours of work, enterprise bargaining, increasing contractorization, the emergence of the gig environment all play a major role.
“Much of this manifested in increased workers’ compensation claims for stress, anxiety, and mental ill-health. Many employers, however, while intending to do the right thing in this regard have largely been unaware of underlying causative and contributing factors.”
Ringing alarm bells, the survey found that 40 per cent of leadership teams were judged 'poor' at measuring indicators of poor mental health within the workforce.
Dr Raineri said all businesses and employers would benefit from following the Psychosocial Code of Practice.
“The recent introduction of the Managing the risks of psychosocial hazards at work Code of Practice 2022 now provides practical advice and recommendations for employers,” he said.
“Businesses should follow the advice outlined in the Code.
“Management style is also one factor and should be examined, but the code outlines other relevant factors as well. All factors should be considered.”
For more information on World Day of Safety and Health at Work (28 April) visit https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/safety-and-health-at-work/events-training/events-meetings/safeday2023/lang--en/index.htm