Mentally healthy work places with LGIS’ psychological safe program

Risk Matters - Autumn 2024

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Proactive and responsive services to identify and manage psychosocial hazards in local government workplaces.

Pyschological safety and mental health in the workplace is in the spotlight for local governments. It’s been a couple of years since the WA Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act (2020) was introduced and lifted the profile of pyschological safety.

Although local goverments, as PCBUs (person conducting
a business or undertaking), have always had a duty of care to provide a safe workplace and take all reasonable steps to manage physical and pyschological hazards, the Act now explicitly talks about pyschological safety.

LGIS provides a suite of services to support members at all points of their risk management journey when it comes to pyschological safety. Fundementally the LGIS programs is designed to help members to create an environment where employees feel

safe, share their concerns, and seek support when facing psychological challenges. It emphasises fostering a culture of respect, professionalism, empathy, and open communication.

Other sections in this season's Risk Matters

Where we’ve been – Autumn 2024

LGIS, together with WorkCover WA and legal partners Mills Oakley and Moray & Agnew have delivered four sector specific information sessions on the new Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act (2023) WA.

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Pyschological injury trends

Nationally anxiety/stress disorders accounted for 45.8% of pyschological injury claims according to Safe Work Australia’s, ‘Pyschological health and safety in the workplace’ report (February 2024). Stress, anxiety, depression, conflict, and burnout have become more prevalent.

Number of serious claims for mental health conditions and non-mental health conditions, NDS (2008-09 to 2021-22p)
Number of serious claims for mental health conditions, NDS (2017-18 to 2021-22p) Source: Safe Work Australia National Dataset for Compensation-based Statistics.

From a local government perspective the past few years have seen a steep increase in the cost of workers’ compensation claims. Psychological injuries, which are on average 45% more expensive per claim than musculoskeletal injuries, are on the rise and are now the second most common claim type.

Across the financial years 2019-2023, LGIS received 237 pyschological injury claims with a value over $14 million
and average cost of $59,296 per claim. The number one cause of claims is work-related harassment/bullying followed by work pressure.

Local government pyschological claims by mechanism and average cost

LGIS’ pyschologically safe program

The program helps members to adopt tertiary, secondary and primary interventions that target all levels within an organisation – individual, leadership, team, and organisation wide.

The program is divided into four main stages:


The first step is to build employees capacity to understand mental health issues, develop their own resilience and contribute to mentally health workplaces. By openly talking about and promoting mental health local governments can reduce stigma and build resilience.


Unlike physical hazards, which are present for specific roles, mental health risks exist in every industry and job. The prevention part of the program includes workshops to develop individuals and teams understanding of local government’s duty of care requirements, dealing with difficult behaviours and identifing and managing pyschosocial hazards.

Intervene early

Supporting and accommodating employees at the early stages of a mental health issue helps lessen recovery time and reduces their time away from work. Members should consider offering an EAP service to address employees’ personal and work-related concerns. LGIS offers three types of intervention services – counselling for workplace issues, mediation to address potentially toxic workplace relationships, and people leader self-harm prevention resources.

Support recovery

Supporting workers post-injury is critical in influencing successful return-to-work/stay-at-work processes. Along with leadership support and communication with the worker, alignment to an injury management process, and provision of a critical incident debriefing opportunity helps in the recovery. LGIS provides critical incident debriefing when a major incident occurs that impacts workers, and advice/consultancy services during ‘high-risk’ times.

More information

For more information on how LGIS’ pyschologically safe program can support you in creating a mentally healthy workplace contact the People Risk Team at [email protected]

Other sections of this season's Risk Matters

Man painting mural on wall

The rising risk of anti-social behaviour

Across Western Australia local governments create and deliver spaces that welcome everyone – from libraries to recreation centres and playgrounds. These services and facilities foster community connection but unfortunately they can also witness anti-social behaviour.

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Warning posters

CCTV and security

CCTV, alarms and dedicated security may require significant investment (depending on scope), but for those local governments who have identified serious hazards associated with ASB, it’s an investment that may be warranted. When considering these options, it’s important to consider not just the initial investment but the ongoing commitment of resources.

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