How do you measure psychosocial risk in a business?

31 January 2023 · SaferMe team

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Finding a framework to measure or assess psychosocial risk in businesses is becoming a necessity for senior managers to understand.

In Australia, new legislation implemented in late 2022 means that psychosocial risk must now be risk assessed, managed and addressed in the same way all other health and safety risks are required to be managed by law. Many businesses in New Zealand are already moving down this path due to an increased focus on mental wellbeing issues in the aftermath of the Covid pandemic.

This is an example of the step change occurring in the way psychological and social workplace risks are being managed. With employee wellbeing more important than ever before - and highly competitive job markets making it difficult to attract and retain talent, it is anticipated many more countries, and more health and safety standards providers will soon increase the importance of psychosocial risk in their jurisdictions.

If you have an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) in place, you might be wondering how to take the next step to measure and understand psychosocial issues in a consistent manner.

Why measure psychosocial risk?

Peer-reviewed research from around the world has shown consistently that psychosocial factors play an important role in an employees wellbeing, and their cognitive capacity to perform tasks safely and efficiently.

This is particularly pronounced in medium to high risk industries such as construction, engineering and other trades, manufacturing, agriculture, horticulture, waste management and many more. In these industries, any cognitive impact caused by psychosocial factors leads to greater risk of a workplace accident or injury.

In addition to the accident and injury risk, psychological and social factors in the workplace can affect how an employee or contractor experiences work - increasing the likelihood of absenteeism and worker turnover / churn.

What is the best way to assess and monitor psychosocial risk?

Measuring psychosocial risk needs a consistent science-based framework for you to reliably measure and monitor change over time.

Some key considerations when planning how to measure psychosocial risk in a business are:
1. Making it easy to participate - if it causes pain to the workers’ workday, they won’t do it.
2. Make it a regular part of workers’ day or week - embed into existing routines where possible, measure regularly to understand changing dynamics.
3. Measure what matters - take a science based approach to the psychosocial issues you track so you know the data you generate is robust.
4. Customize the experience to your workforce - translate information or questions into different languages and allow them to do it anonymously if they find it hard to share personal information.
5. Commit to the journey - the business must communicate its commitment to improving when shortcomings are identified, so your workers know why they are doing it. This is also vital for compliance with workplace psychosocial risk laws.

SaferMe has developed a science-based psychosocial risk tool with the backing of New Zealand’s Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) Innovation Programme.

We can help your business to measure, analyse and improve psychosocial issues that increase the risk of accidents, injuries, absenteeism and worker churn.

More info: Learn more and book an obligation-free 20 minute demo session

Measuring psychosocial risk

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