Creating a healthy and safe workplace

Oct 20, 2014

When it comes to the workplace, employers have a lot of responsibility. One of the most important, under each state’s Work Health and Safety legislation, is their obligation to provide a safe and healthy workplace.

Under this legislation, this means that employers are responsible for eliminating or minimising the possible risks, to the mental health of employees.

What is reasonably practicable will depend on a number considerations including:

  • The likelihood of the risk occurring
  • The degree of harm that might result from the risk
  • What the employer knows or ought to reasonably know about the risk and ways of eliminating or minimizing the risk
  • The availability and suitability of ways to eliminate or minimise the risk


On a practical level, what this does is provide employees with the right to a certain level of working conditions that do not cause a mental health condition or aggravate an existing one.

Some of the more common risks to mental health in the workplace include job-related stress, bullying and harassment and workplace trauma.

Having said that, not all the responsibility regarding mental health in the workplace sits with the employer. Employees – whether they have a disability or not - are also required under Work Health and Safety legislation to act responsibly, take care of themselves and others and also cooperate with the employer in regards to health and safety.

In addition, if an employee’s disability has the potential to cause a health and safety risk for other workers, then they may be breaching their obligations under the legislation if they don’t disclose that risk.

For an overview of existing and proposed Work Health and Safety laws, visit SafeWork Australia.

You can find your local Work Health and Safety regulator below:


Create better workplace health: register with Heads Up

To discover how you can implement change and build a happier, healthier and more productive workplace, register for Heads Up, a joint initiative of Beyond Blue and the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance (MHWA).

Heads Up on LinkedIn 

If you would like more information and resources about how to create a more mentally healthy workplace, please visit our LinkedIn company page, which is regularly updated with stories and links related to the issue.

If you would like to join the discussion about a mentally healthy workplace, please visit our LinkedIn group page and become part of the conversation.



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