New Victorian OHS regulations for mental health proposed: What Victorian Public Sector employers need to know

Friday, 18 February 2022 at 3:14 am

The draft Occupational Health and Safety Amendment (Psychological Health) Regulations (Amendment Regulations) and an accompanying regulatory impact statement have been released for public comment, until 31 March 2022.

If adopted, the Regulations will impose significant compliance obligations on the Victorian Public Sector, in addition to those already applicable.

The critical changes proposed are to require employers to:

  • identify and control risks posed by psychological hazards (as defined)
  • review risk control measures when certain injuries are reported or an HSR requests this
  • prepare a written prevention plan in circumstances where serious hazards are identified, namely aggression or violence, bullying, exposure to traumatic content or events, high job demands, and sexual harassment and produce the plan for inspection on request
  • require employers with more than 50 employees to periodically report "reportable psychosocial complaints" (pertaining to aggression, violence, bullying and sexual harassment) to WorkSafe every 6 months.

The psychological hazards to which the draft regulations relate are defined as:

psychosocial hazard means any factor or factors in—

  • the work design; or
  • the systems of work; or
  • the management of work; or
  • the carrying out of the work; or
  • personal or work-related interactions;

that may arise in the working environment and may cause an employee to experience one or more negative psychological responses that create a risk to their health and safety;

The draft Amendment Regulations and regulatory impact statement can be viewed here:

WorkSafe will consider submissions in relation to the draft until 31 March 2022. The new regulations will then take effect in around June 2022.

Mechanisms for providing feedback related to the draft are available on the Engage Victoria website

Contact our team

Please get in touch with our team if you need assistance with OHS and employment matters.

Frances Anderson
Assistant Victorian Government Solicitor
T: 0475 834 049

Cassandra Tanner
Lead Counsel
T: 0456 996 763

Craig Newton 
Principal Lawyer
T: 0429 223 635