Federation has commenced discussions with Safe Work NSW regarding the Work Health and Safety Road Map for NSW, which identifies psychological injury and illness in the workplace as one of its focus areas.
The Road Map outlines priorities aimed at reducing fatalities, serious injuries and illnesses in NSW by 30 per cent in 2022.
Work is underway on the Mentally Healthy Workplaces Strategy, which will consider psychosocial risk factors including workplace violence, workplace bullying as well as mental health promotion in terms of injury reduction.
Importantly, Safe Work NSW will be increasing resources and support to deal with psychosocial risks. This means more direct support and advice for workplaces.
Teachers, executives and principals have identified work overload and work intensification as psychological risk factors along with workplace violence and/or bullying. The results of the Public Service Commission’s “People Matter Survey 2016” indicate an unacceptable level of work-related stress experienced by most teachers (see table).
Federation has repeatedly asked the Department to identify the policies and procedures in place to prevent, minimise and/or eliminate the psychosocial risks that contribute to work-related stress. To date, the Department has provided only the material related to “Respectful Workplaces” and the Complaints Handling Policy and Procedures (which are being rewritten).
Federation will continue discussions with Safe Work NSW around the “Mentally Healthy Workplaces Strategy” and the role of Safe Work staff, including inspectors, in terms of compliance with the duties under the Work Health and Safety Act. Reports will be provided on the strategy as it is developed and implemented.
Consistent with Annual Conference policy, Federation will undertake a work-related stress survey to identify risk factors and inform the development of recommendations aimed at creating safer workplaces.
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