Q&A with WHS Manager Alana Morris

Posted 22 November 2019

Q&A with WHS Manager Alana Morris

Last week I was devastated by the loss of my partner and friend, Gary. I would like to encourage any member who has concerns for their mental health, or that of their coworkers, to seek assistance. OzHelp can be contacted on (02) 6251 4166.

In loving memory of Gary Scott Bauer (03/09/83 - 11/11/19)

Question: How can I assess and prevent psychological risks in the workplace and provide the appropriate support to workers and colleagues?

Answer:  When identifying and assessing risks in the workplace that may contribute to workplace stress, or psychological illnesses or injuries, it is firstly important to consult with workers. You can ask questions like;

-          Do you feel workloads are currently too high?

-          Do you feel you have clarity on your role and control over how your work is performed?

-          Do you believe relationships and bullying and harassment are taken seriously and handled appropriately?

-          Do you believe communication is open within your teams?

-          Are there any external or family matters that you feel may affect you performing your role?

-          Do you have appropriate support at work and home?

-          Are you aware of the support avenues we offer to our workers regarding mental health?

You may like to invite your teams to score the above questions on a scale, so you can identify the areas of priority.

There are some simple steps to take to start and continue conversations around mental health in the workplace;

  1. Choose somewhere appropriate to have a conversation (private and quiet)
  2. Encourage people to talk (open and non-judgmental questions)
  3. Understand what is supportive (don’t interrupt or rush)
  4. Wok together (find solutions, agree and consent)
  5. Develop an action plan
  6. Encourage them to seek advice and support
  7. With consent and understanding, communicate with the team (such as reasonable adjustments, changes to workloads etc)
  8. Follow up (Establish a regular time for review and contact)
  9. Embrace a mentally healthy work culture

You can download thepsychological hazard assessment template to assist you.

The approach to psychological management in the workplace, and an overall structure to promote health and well-being in the workplace, is to;

-          Prevent harm

-          Intervene early

-          Support recovery

Ways in which we can do this are through;

-          Open, positive, two-way communication

-          Effective leadership and management commitment

-          Good work design and safe systems of work

-          Risk management

-          Training, information and supervision

-          Consultation, cooperation and coordination

There are multiple avenues of support for people who are suffering workplace stress or psychological illness or injury. You can download free resources from OzHelp, Beyond Blue, Heads Up and many more. You may also have details for an Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

When providing support, remember, it is important to;

-          Listen non-judgmentally

-          Encourage support from Supervisors, General Practitioners, counsellors/ psychologists and or assistance lines

-          Give information

-          Maintain confidentiality (unless there is an immediate threat to the health and safety of the person or others)

Identifying, assessing, controlling and reviewing psychological hazards must be conducted for the individual.

MBA ACT is now offering Mental Health Awareness Training. For more information, contact Trish Moore, Short Course Manager on 02 6175 5900.

How do I know which Respiratory Protective Equipment (RPE) to use for my workers who are working with or around respirable crystalline silica and what monitoring I am required to undertake?

Answer:  MBA ACT has put together a brief resource document to assist you with understanding Respirable Crystalline Silica and the controls – RCS Guidance Note.

Further information can be found at;
WorkSafe ACT
Safe Work Australia

If you have any WHS related enquiries, please don’t hesitate to contact our WHS Manager, Alana Morris on 02 6175 5900

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