Psychosocial Safety, Is it possible to make it culturally normal?

imageMost people would agree that wanting a Psycho-Socially safe workplace is a desirable thing. The Federal Government of Australia definitely thought so when they introduced Psycho-Social Hazards into managing Health and Safety see SafeWork Australia .

All of us have biases that reflect our experiences, upbringing and unconscious. Organisations have biases that reflect their journey, progress and collective unconscious. This is rarely talked about and definitely an influencing factor to understanding any organisation. Social Psychology of Risk (SPoR) has been doing this for 20 years now.

So, you want Psychosocial Safety to be normal in your organisation? Let’s take a look at normal.

What is normal?

Bad news, normal doesn’t exist. Article from Psyche

Well let’s take a look at a paradox then. All safety people know you need to be qualified to perform a task. But in the curriculum for safety, training for Psychosocial doesn’t exist. The laws changed before the information is available. Training Details Dip.WHS

So, people and businesses have been asked to implement a concept they don’t understand, haven’t been trained in and most likely be asked to give advice. And with the very best of intentions, will probably give advice.

I look at an article written yesterday about swimmer Cate Campbell ABC New Article who as an elite athlete struggled to manage her menstrual cycle. The advice that was given led to various physical and mental struggles further to what she was already experiencing.

I am not a trained counsellor. I would struggle to understand what she was going through. It is easy to advise anyone to seek professional help, but that still doesn’t translate into psychosocial safety inside the workplace. What does a Safety person do in this situation?

· Rely upon training that doesn’t exist?

· Apply the hierarchy of controls?

· Mitigate the risk?

· Outsource the problem?

· Phone a friend?

Let’s hope none of the above ever becomes a cultural solution.

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