Stress - What is the law?

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Duty holders and legislation that relate to work-related stress

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) and regulations place certain duties on employers, employees, self-employed people, manufacturers, designers, importers and suppliers and must be complied with. Duties include:

  • Not exposing workers to hazards.
  • Providing information, instruction and training.
  • Conducting risk assessments.
  • Investigating hazards or injuries that have been reported to employers by employees.
  • Notifying WorkSafe of reportable injuries.
  • Providing safe workplaces.

Do not expose workers to hazards

Psychological hazards or risk factors should be controlled so far as is practicable so that workers are not exposed to hazards. There are general duties and responsibilities placed upon employers, workers and contractors under WA legislation. Refer to Sections 19, 20 and 23D, 23E, 23F of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Provide information, instruction and training

Employers are required to provide information (eg Code of Conduct policy and grievance procedure), instruction, training (eg appropriate workplace behaviour information session) and supervision to their employees so that they are not exposed to psychological risk factors that may lead to work-related stress. Refer to Section 19(1)(b) Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Conduct risk assessments

The three-step risk management process of hazard identification, risk assessment and risk control should be applied to psychological risk factors and work-related stress. Refer to Regulation 3.1 of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996.

Investigate hazards or injuries that have been reported to employers by employees

Injuries and hazards that have been reported in relation to psychological risk factors and work-related stress should be investigated. The Act requires employers to investigate matters reported to them by employees, determine the action to be taken (if any), and notify the employee who made the report of the action to be taken. Refer to Section 23K of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

Notify WorkSafe of reportable injuries

Certain injuries and illnesses should be reported to WorkSafe, including injuries that are likely to prevent the employee from being able to work within 10 days of the injury and certain types of fractures. Refer to Section 23I of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984 and Regulation 2.4 of the Occupational Safety and Health Regulations 1996.

Provide safe workplaces

Those that have control of workplaces have a duty to take measures so far as is practicable so that people (including non-employees) are not exposed to hazards when they enter, exit or are in that workplace. Refer to Section 22 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1984.

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