Psychological Safety ISO Standards: What Businesses Need To Know

Psychological safety and psychological hazards are growing considerations for Australian employers. Global standards for managing psychological safety in the workplace are now set (ISO 45003) and potential legislative changes would require employers to monitor, identify and control risks.

Psychological safety is ‘the sense of being able to show and employ one’s self without fear of negative consequences to self-image, status or career.’ Safe Work Australia defines a psychological hazard as ‘anything that could cause psychological harm.’ Common psychological hazards include:

      • Excessive job demands

        • Inadequate workplace support

          • Low levels of job control

          • Traumatic events or material

            • Bullying and harassment

              • Poorly managed conflict

                • Inadequate reward or recognition

                  • Ineffective change management

                What is ISO 45003?

                ISO 45003 is the first global standard that provides ‘guidance on the management of psychosocial risks and promoting wellbeing at work, as part of an occupational health and safety (OH&S) management system.’ Queensland commenced with these new regulations in April 2023.

                The ISO guide provides organisations of all sizes with ways to prevent work-related injuries and enhance wellbeing at work. A key responsibility for organisations outlined in ISO 45003 is the monitoring of staff psychological wellbeing.

                Why is ISO 45003 important?

                Workplace OH&S has largely focused on the management of risks to physical health. ISO 45003 is important as it expands the focus to include psychological health and safety too. While the guidelines aren’t yet enforceable by Australian law, they are recognised as best practice.

                Organisations can expect significant benefits when turning their attention to psychological safety. Statistics from Gallup suggest that improving psychological safety can lead to a 27% reduction in turnover, 40% reduction in safety incidents and 12% increase in productivity. 

                Support for your business or organisation?

                OH&S standards and regulations continue to apply a greater focus on psychological safety, especially in the monitoring and identifying of employee trends. North Brisbane Psychologists has a range of options that can help businesses towards best practice. Call us on (07) 3726 5595 and ask to speak with our Practice Manager or Clinical Director to find out more about our Employee Assistance Program and other services.