What are Psychosocial Hazards?

Psychosocial hazards include hazards that can have an adverse effect on an employee’s mental health or wellbeing, and are closely linked with all the other categories of hazards. For example:

• Health impacts. Health impacts as a result of biological, chemical, physical, safety and ergonomic hazards can have significant impacts on an individual’s wellbeing. For example, exposure to a blood-borne virus as a result of a sharps injury can result in months of stress and anxiety for the individual involved and their family. Therefore, almost all of the hazards outlined in this article could also result in psychosocial impacts.

• Harassment. Harassment is a result of someone acting in a way that makes you feel intimated, humiliated, offended or otherwise distressed, and can have serious impacts on a person’s health and wellbeing. For example, bullying in the workplace is surprisingly common and can pose a serious psychosocial hazard. Bullying behaviour can result in the bullied individual experiencing several psychosocial symptoms, including stress, anxiety and sleep deprivation, loss of appetite and a sense of vulnerability.

• Workplace aggression and abuse. Whether it’s from a colleague, client or someone else, workplace aggression and abuse can have serious effects on someone’s mental and physical health, resulting in symptoms such as stress, anxiety and sleep deprivation. Managers can take steps to reduce sexual harassment in the workplace and encourage employees to speak out if they witness or experience it.

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