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Working to ensure ISO guidelines on workplace psychological health don’t create headaches



  • Master Builders attends meeting of Standards Australia’s OH&S technical committee
  • Questions raised about inconsistencies with Australian approach.

The meeting of Australian Standards Committee, SF-001, took place to discuss a draft international standard being developed by the ISO on psychological health and safety in the workplace, to be known as ISO 45003.

SF-001 is charged with the development and publication of Standards associated with Occupational Health and Safety in Australia but also plays a role in the development of International OH&S Standards and their supporting documents.  

Members will recall that in October 2018, Standards Australia published a (largely unamended) local version of ISO 45001:2018 – Occupational health and safety management systems – Requirements with guidance for use.

The ISO is now in the process of developing guidelines on psychological health and safety in the workplace, to be used together with ISO 45001, and has sought international feedback on the draft.  According to the document’s introduction, the purpose of the guidelines is to eliminate hazards and minimise OH&S risks by taking effective preventive and protective measures to manage psychosocial risk.

Master Builders has raised several concerns about the draft guidelines, including that they apply a risk management system that is substantially different to the well-established hierarchy of controls referenced within Australia’s WHS laws.  We have also expressed concerns that the international draft contains content that is either irrelevant, unclear or impracticable to implement.

Draft ISO 45003 – Occupational health and safety management – Psychological health and safety in the workplace will be released for public comment in the coming months.


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