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Understanding how Change Management and Psychosocial Safety connect

An artist angled photo of words on a page, the words cannot be read.

From April 2023 in Qld*, there's a new Code of Practice for Psychosocial Hazards at Work and while legislation is usually the last thing to excite people in change projects, this one is important we promise.


Why? Because while Work Health and Safety Law has always had protections for physical and psychological health, for the first time we are seeing changes to the WHS Regs, and the introduction of a Code of Practice that require prescribed steps in this space.


What steps? Well PCBUs (that's Persons Conducting a Business or Undertaking for the non-WHS folk) and their officers must take prescribed steps when applying a risk management approach to psychosocial (emotional and social) hazards. And Change Management has been explicitly mentioned (particularly poor managed changed) as having an impact on the Psychosocial Safety of employees.



So what? Isn't this just a guide?


Nope, this is more than that - every PCBU and officer has to comply with the code (or prove they do it better) or they will be in breach. For Queensland there's the Code of Practice has some stringent requirements.


The code can be used for enforcement (not the top reason for it to exist, but a push for businesses that might see care for people as a 'soft skill' instead of the essential that we know it is!)


So all the things it's been 'nice to do' until now have been formalised into a Code of Practice that's also enforceable, making OCM work more front of mind for businesses than ever!


And if the idea that Australian legislation has been introduced isn't exciting enough for you, there are 22 other countries around the world, and ISO Standard 45003 so perhaps that's a motivating factor?


What does that even have to do with Change Management?


Well as we said, poorly managed change is an identified common psychosocial hazard, which many organisations will be wanting to improve their performance in, and management of.


So here's where you get the opportunity to do some great things for your change, your practice, and your outcomes:

  • gain a valuable 'seat at the table' by understanding how this legislation will impact your employer and how you can contribute to safe and supportive change

  • create better outcomes for your stakeholders by hazard assessment, risk identification, elimination and control

  • build your influence and leverage in the organisation by mitigating your impact on other psychosocial hazards

  • create a body of psychosocial controls (change interventions) you know will help contribute to better psychosocial and psychological safety in other changes

  • contribute to your client/workplace operating in a safe/compliant/quality manner


If this sounds like something you're keen to explore but you don't have the knowledge, or toolset to start taking action, we can help and support you with our specially designed workshops and services.




 

*Here's the dates these changes have come into effect in other states:

· New South Wales - 1 October 2022

· Tasmania - 22 December 2022

· Queensland - 1 April 2023

· Commonwealth - 1 April 2023

· Western Australia - 24 December 2022

· Northern Territory - 1 July 2023


As far as Victoria is concerned, psychological health regulations were set to be introduced in the state mid-last 2022 but they have not at this point.

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