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Code of Practice Managing psychosocial hazards

SafeWork NSW

Version:  (Current)
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Publication date

May 2021

Current status

An approved code of practice provides practical guidance on how to achieve compliance with the work health and safety standards required under the WHS Act and the Work Health and Safety Regulation (WHS Regulation), including effective ways to identify and manage risks.

A code of practice applies to anyone who has a duty of care in the circumstances described in the code of practice. In most cases, following an approved code of practice will assist the duty holder in achieving compliance with the health and safety duties in the WHS Act and WHS Regulation concerning the code’s subject matter.

Like regulations, codes of practice tend to deal with particular risks, and do not cover all hazards or risks that may arise. The health and safety duties require duty holders to consider all risks associated with work, not only those for which regulations and codes of practice exist.

Codes of practice are admissible in court proceedings under the WHS Act and the WHS Regulation. Courts may regard a code of practice as evidence of what is known about a hazard, risk or control and may rely on the code in determining what is reasonably practicable in the circumstances to which the code relates. For further information, see Safe Work Australia How to determine what is reasonably practicable to meet a Health and Safety Duty.

Compliance with the WHS Act and WHS Regulation may be achieved by following another method if this achieves an equivalent or higher standard of safety than set out in this code.

An inspector may refer to an approved code of practice when issuing an improvement or prohibition notice.


This code is intended to be read by persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) and those who have duties under the WHS Act. It provides practical guidance on the process

a PCBU could use to identify and to manage psychosocial hazards at work. You should use this code of practice if you have functions or responsibilities that involve managing, so far as is reasonably practicable, exposure to psychosocial hazards and risks to psychological and physical health and safety at work.

The code may also be a useful reference for other persons interested in complying with the duties under the WHS Act and WHS Regulation. Examples in this code identify actions a PCBU, an officer of a PCBU, a worker, or other persons should take, but which by themselves may not be sufficient to fulfil a PCBU’s obligations or a worker’s or other person’s responsibility under WHS legislation.

This code applies to all work and workplaces covered by the WHS Act. Throughout this code, the reasonably practicable limitation under section 18 of the WHS Act applies to the general duty.

SafeWork NSW
SafeWork NSW
SafeWork NSW
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International licence
Code of Practice Managing psychosocial hazards