Changes to WHS work laws – psychosocial hazards and sexual harassment

13 October 2022

Early next year, amendments to the state WHS regulations will be enacted and will contain a definition of psychosocial hazards and risks, an express duty to manage those risks, and provisions relating to determining control measures to manage psychosocial risks.

Under the Queensland Work Health and Safety Act 2011, person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) currently has to manage work-related psychological risks and sexual harassment, but two upcoming legislative changes will affect how you manage these risks.

At the same time, a new Managing the risk of work-related psychosocial hazards Code of Practice will be implemented. This new code will provide a practical guide on compliance, including identifying hazards, assessing risks, selecting control measures, maintaining and reviewing control measures, and responding to complaints, incidents or reports of psychosocial hazards.

In addition, in late September 2022 the federal government introduced the Anti-Discrimination and Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Respect at Work) Bill 2022, which will amend the Federal Sex Discrimination Act 1984. Once introduced, a positive duty to prevent workplace sex discrimination, harassment and victimisation will be protected by law.

More information on these new obligations will be contained in the next edition of Master Builder magazine. We will also be conducting training for members in early 2023.

Update: The Code came into effect in April 2023. See our news update on the topic.

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