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  • Writer's pictureLouise Thompson

ISO 45003:2021 New Standard For Worker Wellbeing

Post-covid, there was a recognition of the impact of mental health on the global workforce, and a need for global management of these issues. To address this issue on a global scale new guidelines and standards were developed to help employers create the right environment for the physical and mental safety of their workers.

Man stressed at work

What is ISO 45003:2021?

The ISO standards for managing psychosocial risks were released on June 2021; view the full standards here - Occupational health and safety management — Psychological health and safety at work — Guidelines for managing psychosocial risks, ISO 45003:2021.

The standards have two main goals. Firstly, to clearly define psychosocial hazards, the conditions in which they develop and their impact on workers. And secondly, a management framework that provides structure to business in the assessment and controlling of these hazards within an occupational health and safety management system based on ISO 45001:2018.

ISO 45003:2021 is the management of psychosocial risks and promotion of wellbeing at work


What are psychosocial hazards and what it means for workers' wellbeing?

Psychosocial Hazards relate to how work is organised, social aspects of work and aspects of work environment, equipment and hazardous tasks. Psychosocial hazards and the appropriate control measures will vary between sectors, workplaces and between groups of workers, depending on the work environment, organisational context and the nature of work.

Psychosocial risks are associated with economic costs to organisations and society, and impacts on organisational performance and sustainability.

Psychosocial Risks

The likelihood of occurrence of exposure to work-related hazards of a psychosocial nature and the severity of injury and ill-health that can be caused by these hazards.

Why they matter for businesses

Businesses are required to take actions to address risk this includes understand the underlying sources of harm and utilising control measures. Secondly they need to establish, implement and maintain process that are ongoing and proactive in relation to psychological harm.

Organisations have a significant role to play in eliminating hazards or minimizing risks for the benefit of it’s workers.

Identify hazards and underlying sources of harm

Psychosocial hazards can be considered through three different lenses, aspects of how work is organised, for example:

●     Job control

●     Job Demands

●     Role conflict

Social factors of work, for example:

●     Workplace conflict or poor relationships

●     Lack of support

●     Bullying or harassment

and work environment including hazardous tasks.

Find out more about psychosocial hazards.

Control measures

Once hazards have been identified actions businesses must control these risks by the way of elimination or management of these hazards.

Hazard management actions may include; considering the best fit between work process and the needs of the worker, reviewing current workplace systems and operations, or analysing current controls in place and their efficacy.

Make Sure Your Business Is Compliant

The new ISO standards mean businesses are now required to adopt a comprehensive long term strategy that considers the organisations policies, structures, resources, existing systems to best manage psychosocial health and safety in the workplace.

Psychosocial health and safety can no longer be left up to chance, instead a structured framework is required with continual proactive monitoring and reviewing.

To comprehensively do this business need to invest in a psychosocial safety solution like an integrated EAP service that meets these compliance requirements whilst supporting proactive worker wellbeing solutions.

Organisations need a comprehensive psychosocial safety solution to protect workers and ensure business compliance.


Author: Louise Thompson, Clinical Director Foremind

Louise is the Clinical Director at Foremind, with over a decade of experience in the mental health sector, contributing to well-known Australian organisations like Beyond Blue, Lifeline, Headspace, and LivingWorks.


If you need support dealing with mental health contact Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636

or Lifeline 13 11 14


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