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The article below explains the types of psychosocial risks and discusses employer obligations and recent legal outcomes

Psychosocial risk factors refer to environmental, relational, and operational hazards at work that may affect people’s psychological, mental, and physical health.


  • Bullying and harassment
  • High workloads and tight deadlines
  • Lack or role clarity
  • Workplace conflicts

WorkSafe focus on mentally healthy work:

  • Work design
  • Work environment
  • Relationships

The Due Diligence requirements of Officers under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA), in layman’s terms, require you to seek to prevent rather than seek to repair.

You can agree or disagree but it’s here to stay and long gone are the days of saying “just harden up” or “take your concrete pills”. In fact those sayings could be used against you in a court case. Remember, if you are in a position of authority, then it’s not always considered banter and could be regarded as bullying, regardless of your intentions.

Prosecutions are now being seen in Australia relating to psychosocial harm and you can expect to see similar in New Zealand in the near future.

In Victoria, fines ranging from $10,000 to $60,000 have been handed down to firms that fail to ensure that bulling behaviour did not occur, and that if it did occur, failed to have processes, policies or procedures in place to identify and respond in order to eliminate or reduce risks to employees caused by this behaviour.

Last year in New Zealand there were 81 claims for work-related mental injuries made to ACC, although ACC could not easily identify how many of those claims related to workplace bullying. A recent example is Y Phillips v ACC regarding mental injury due to bullying, harassment and abuse during meetings with manager/HR.

If you want to discuss any Health, Safety or Wellbeing topics feel free to contact Pete Finegan, Master Electricians National Health & Safety Manager on 0800 275 3826 or email .