Continuing with our series on Psychosocial Safety
Dos and Don’ts
- Don’t ever associate Psychosocial and Mental Health with hazards. Whilst Psychosocial and Mental Health pose many challenges for organisations, these challenges are NOT hazards. Such language can only ever toxify the workplace and create Psychosocial harm.
- Don’t consider for a second that Psychosocial and Mental Health issues can be ‘fixed’ or ‘controlled’.
- Don’t follow any advice given by Safety Codes of Practice or AIHS BoK Chapter on Psychosocial and Mental Health to dictate your response to persons. Psychosocial and Mental Health is about the care of persons NOT the outcomes of Safety Management Systems.
- Similarly, don’t go to any training that describes Psychosocial and Mental Health as a ‘hazard’.
- Don’t attempt to list any Psychosocial and Mental Health issue on any register or documentation. (If any registration of any Psychosocial and Mental Health issues can ever be connected back to any person then, anything from that time forward is worth nothing).
- Don’t use the language of ‘zero’ from your organisation. Intolerance is a recipe for brutalism and toxicity.
- Don’t register any Psychosocial and Mental health issue on a hazard register.
- Don’t support FIFO.
- Don’t speak nonsense to people about the ‘whole person’ when. You know that safety is NOT holistic.
- Don’t insult real professions by using the label ‘profession’ for safety.
- Don’t confess any Psychosocial and Mental Health issue to any organisation that preaches zero or who will record your confession.
- Do promote Psychosocial and Mental Health that requires: tolerance, empathy, care, helping, compassion, confidentiality, understanding, ethical practice, listening.
- Do read books and listen to professional resources on pastoral care, helping, listening, care ethics etc. Start with Gerard Egan The Skilled Helper.
- Do all you can to only take any Psychosocial and Mental Health issues to a professional, educated and experienced in Psychosocial and Mental health. Safety is not a profession. Safety has no ethic of care.
- Do access professional resources and reading on well-being (eg. John Kabbat-Zinn, Julia Cameron).
- Do study Holistic Ergonomics (https://cllr.com.au/product/holistic-ergonomics-unit-6/ ) and Do reject toxic practices like ‘hot desking’ that harm persons.
- Don’t go to any safety source for help in understanding well-being.
- Don’t give advice in Psychosocial and Mental Health.
- Don’t identify Psychosocial and Mental Health as a safety issue.
- Don’t count Psychosocial and Mental health as safety data.
- Don’t use the word ‘consultation’ when its real meaning is code for ‘telling’.
- Don’t ever take advice from engineers, behaviourists of so called ‘safety science’ on Psychosocial and Mental health.
- Don’t give advice on Psychosocial and Mental Health if you are neither qualified or experienced..
- Do learn the names and contacts of all Psychosocial and Mental Health professionals in your area.
- Do know the number and contacts for Lifeline and other associated Psychosocial and Mental health services.
- Do refer any Psychosocial and Mental Health issue to a professional. Safety is not a caring profession.
- Do validate all forms of knowing and belief systems for helping including, religious and spiritual beliefs of persons presenting with a Psychosocial and Mental Health issue.
- Do include Spirituality and Religion in your definition of culture.
- Do use Chaplains and other spiritual resources that many people under trauma and Mental health pressures find helpful.
- Do ensure you are open to unfamiliar ways of knowing and help for First Nations People and those from different cultures. Culture is NOT ‘what we do around here’.
- Do seek knowledge and professional expertise on stress, distress, eustress, destress, trauma and PTSI. (eg. Gabor Mate, Besser Van Der Kolk).
- Do develop an ethic of personhood, the foundation for all care, helping and ethics. The safety industry has nothing on any of this.
I don’t often do this but to simply state that this advice is based on, over 40 year’s experience and research in the area of Psychosocial and Mental Health including: work in Youth Detention Centres across the ACT and NSW, work in ACT and NSW prisons, Manager ACT Youth and Community Services, Work in Child Protection and Foster Care, Founder Galilee School for Youth At-Risk, Work in Not-for-profit and Non-Government sectors in Family Counselling, Mental Health and Well-Being. Manager of ACT Youth Indigenous Services, Representation on National Substance Abuse, Alcohol and Drug Taskforce, ACT Sentencing Review, Member – National Clearinghouse on Early Intervention and Prevention of Drug Abuse, Member – National Youth Affairs Research Scheme, Criminal Justice System Committee. Member – Community Services Ministerial Advisory Council on Gambling. Manager of Crisis Centre Canberra Bushfires. Lecturer in Social Work and Youth Work at ACU. Founder of the ACT Youth Worker in Schools Project through ACU. Academically Rob has majors in in Pastoral Psychology, Education Psychology and Social Psychology.
The ISO 45003:2021 – Occupational health and safety management – Psychological health and safety at work – Guidelines for managing psychosocial risks is dangerous nonsense that will only lead to greater toxicity in workplaces, the further suppression of care and brutalism of the highest order. Well done Safety.