November 2021 Presentation: Return to work in COVID times: managing psychosocial risk

Presentation & Full Event Video Now Available
CSG Event: November 2021
Dr Natasha Lazareski, Managing Director, PsyFlex
Check out the latest presentation from our November 2021 event, along with the full event video, now available to members.

Return to work in COVID times: managing psychosocial risk

We had an amazing turnout for our last presentation of the year, which was not surprising considering the topic and the calibre of speaker. Natasha Lazareski's presentation covered some interesting ground that included the inherent contradictions one must face as we all venture back to work post the latest phase of the pandemic.

One such contradiction is within our reactions to situations, where our instinct can be in conflict with a more rational response. Natasha advised organsiations to normalise the fact that we all have different responses to COVID, but still to establish clear guidelines for the workplace that all must follow. Another aspect of this balancing act is to ensure that you don't give out mixed messages, because this can erode trust. We only have to think of how that played out in the community when authorities communicated ever-changing rules and information.

With communication being such a key to successful return to work, Natasha said she believes that workplace Health & Safety Representatves will become the new frontline heroes. That was a great way to emphasise the importance of those roles!

Natasha's presentation went at a cracking pace with a lot of information in her slides, some of which were skipped over due to time constraints. Therefore, do check out the powerpoint slides as well as the video itself.

If you'd like to hear more from Natasha, you can also take a look at her short video as part of our free CSG Talks series last year, Workplace safety in pandemic times.

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ISO 45003:2021: Introducing the first global standard for managing psychosocial risks

ISO 45003:2021: Introducing the first global standard for managing psychosocial risks

CSG members may be interested in ISO 45003: Occupational health and safety management — Psychological health and safety at work — managing psychosocial risks. It was published in June 2021 and is the first globally agreed standard for psychological injury prevention. The ISO framework has been applied so this standard aligns with the structure of ISO 45001 for occupational health and safety management systems. However, the new standard offers more specific psychosocial risk guidance to address the many areas that can impact a worker’s psychological health, including ineffective communication, excessive pressure, leadership, and negative or toxic organisational culture.

The ISO resource includes a course that takes you through the standard structure to demonstrate the requirements in each section. You can read the entire standard online, but payment is required if you want a hard copy. I am currently doing the course and find it very systems-focused. I love an integrated systems approach so have found the demonstrated overlay onto ISO45001 a sensible approach.

As Worksafe Victoria is currently considering the addition of psychological hazards into the OHS Regulations 2017, this is your opportunity to address the three psychological hazards identified in the standard now. These hazards are: how work is organised, social factors at work and the work environment (equipment and tasks). The ISO resources offers a further online course offering practical guidance on how to conduct a psychosocial risk assessment.

Go to to access:

(1) free ISO 45003 Foundations Course that provides a comprehensive overview to get you across the standard quickly for incorporation within your occupational health and safety management system

(2) free live panel discussion on 4 August 2021 where they will discuss current psychosocial risk assessment practice, hosted by the Psych Health and Safety Podcast

(3) free course to teach you how to meet your legal obligations where they exist and how to address important requirements of ISO 45003:2021

We welcome your thoughts on this emerging workplace issue as Victorian employers will have a wide range of capacities to manage this workplace hazard.

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