New code to improve mental health in Queensland workplaces starts this weekend

Minister for Education, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Racing The Honourable Grace Grace

Work Health and Safety Ambassador Hayley Lewis and Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace

  • New mental health workplace code comes into force on Saturday April 1
  • Backed by swimming legend and WHS mental health ambassador Hayley Lewis
  • Code will directly address psychological health risks at work, such as exposure to traumatic events or isolated working
  • First of its kind in Australia to be legally enforceable

News grabs and photos of Minister Grace and Hayley Lewis available here

Australian swimming legend and Work Health and Safety Mental Health Ambassador, Hayley Lewis, joined Industrial Relations Minister Grace Grace in Parliament this week ahead of a new psychosocial code of practice coming into force.

The new code – Managing the risk of psychosocial hazards at work Code of Practice – commences this Saturday April 1.

It is designed to empower Queensland businesses with practical information and guidance to create mentally healthy workplaces across the state.

The code, which is the first legally enforceable code of its type in Australia, will directly address psychological health risks at work which can be anything from exposure to traumatic events to remote or isolated working.

The code includes advice on how to comply with existing health and safety obligations, after a national review found many employers were unsure of their duties to manage psychological health and safety risks at work.

It also provides practical examples of managing psychosocial hazards in the workplace, industry-specific case studies, and a range of helpful templates that businesses can tailor.

Extensive information about the code and support for businesses is available online, including a recording of a livestream event attended by nearly 3,000 people. In person regional information events will take place in the coming weeks.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Industrial Relations Grace Grace:

"The Palaszczuk Government is yet again leading the nation when it comes to the health and safety of our workers.

"Research has shown that workers benefit from psychologically healthy workplaces through better individual health, increased job satisfaction, commitment, positive attitudes toward self-development, and lower rates of work-related physical injuries.

"We know that physical risks and hazards are often more visible: being able to prevent a psychological injury is not always as obvious.

"That's why we created the code – to protect workers, support businesses to have a greater awareness of what signs and symptoms to look for, and to provide a framework to minimise risks."

Quote attributable to WHS Mental Health Ambassador Hayley Lewis:

"I just wanted to swim, but this came with its struggles, and it's when my mental health battle began. I was struggling on the inside, but this was the 90s when mental health wasn't something spoken about – especially in sport, it was considered a weakness.

"But things got so much worse when my happy 34-year-old sister who taught PE and had three kids, took her own life; I knew she wasn't herself but everyone who knew her didn't see it coming. How could someone that seemed to have everything in life, make that decision?

"Today, I am proud to be a mental health ambassador for Queensland and to be in a position to encourage business owners and workers to be vigilant to the signs of mental health - if you're worried about someone, talk with someone you feel safe with, and know there's nothing wrong if choosing to talk with a psychologist - it can be the best thing you ever do."

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