Mental health in the workplace

AN EMPLOYER has a duty to manage risks to the mental health of its workers. It arises under both common law and Queensland legislation, primarily the Work Health and Safety Act 2011.

If you are an employer you need to ensure your workplace is mentally healthy and that you are adequately managing risks within your organisation to the mental health of your workers.

According to Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, “one in five adult Australians experience a mental health condition in any given year and workers who feel their workplace is mentally unhealthy are three times more likely to take time off work than those in mentally healthy workplaces”.

So the benefits of ensuring a mentally healthy workplace are not just for the benefit of workers; there is a flow-on commercial benefit in reducing absenteeism.

Employers play a big part in helping to break down the stigma that is still largely associated with mental health.

They also need to be complying with their legal obligations in this area.

An adequate management system should include proactive measures to manage risks to mental health arising from the employment (for example, fatigue, bullying, work-related stress etc.) as well as support and promotion of positive wellbeing and health practices and the provision of adequate support mechanisms.

There is no time like the present to consider the current risks to mental health within your organisation and whether your management systems are adequate.

Until next week – Keep it Legal!

Katie Caldow

*The legal information in this article is of a general nature only and not intended to be legal advice to rely upon.

Walker PenderMental health in the workplace