Health and Safety CONFERENCE

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Evidence-Based Psychological Risk Management

Genevieve Hey
Director/Principal Consultant, Genevieve Hey Consulting Pty Ltd

A mines’ safety and health management system must provide protocols for physical and psychological impairment; but what does this mean? A protocol, like a standard operating procedure, governs behaviour and the performance of tasks; therefore, it should be underpinned by a sound risk management process that identifies and controls hazards within the given context. Unfortunately, studies show that industry more readily applies risk management processes to physical rather than psychological hazards; nevertheless, both must be considered for health and safety obligations to be fully discharged.

To complicate matters further, the analysis of psychological risk differs from that of physical risk due to its complexity.

Psychological risk factors are multi-causal, not directly observable and their severity is largely determined by individual perception. With this in mind, how is psychological risk quantified without bias and in a way that facilitates its systematic analysis? Additionally, how are protocols that reflect a mines’ unique psychosocial risk profile developed?

This paper provides the answer by discussing two workplace psychosocial risk assessment tools that are freely available online and grounded in evidence-based psychological research. Furthermore, these tools can be easily applied at your mine by your own Human Resource or Health and Safety specialists.