The pressure to better regulate psychological health in the workplace has been ever increasing since the release of Marie Boland’s independent Review of the model Work Health and Safety laws (Boland Review) in 2018, followed by Kate Jenkin’s Respect@Work Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces and the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Mental Health in 2020, amongst a series of other studies and reports that followed.
In May 2021, the Federal, State and Territory Ministers responsible for workplace health and safety met to finalise the response to the Boland Review, which acknowledged a “widespread view that psychological health is neglected in the model WHS Regulations and Codes”. The Review responded by recommending that the model Work Health and Safety Regulations (Model Regulations) be amended “to deal with how to identify the psychosocial risks associated with psychological injury and the appropriate control measures to manage those risks”.
In June 2022, the Model Regulations were amended to define psychosocial hazards and clarify the duties of a person conducting a business or undertaking in relation to those hazards. The Model Regulations provide ‘template’ psychosocial regulations to be adopted by the States and Territories, as determined by the relevant Governments.
Since then, various States and Territories have implemented or proposed their own approach to better regulate psychological health in the workplace.
We have put together an overview of the regulatory approach taken by each jurisdiction that sets out the following:
- relevant amendments (or proposed amendments) to the applicable health and safety laws
- approved Codes of Practice
- guidance material provided by the relevant jurisdiction’s health and safety regulator