Lead indicator mentoring program
Comcare partnered with the Centre of Workplace Excellence (CWeX), University of South Australia (UniSA), to trial the use of a lead indicator tool – the Psychosocial Safety Climate (PSC).
The program included an employer mentoring component to help employers better understand work health and safety lead indicators so they can predict and prevent poor health and safety outcomes at work.
The lead indicator mentoring program concluded in May 2020.
The project included a three-month mentoring phase, during which each participating employer engaged with CWeX to assess their organisation’s Psychosocial Safety Climate (PSC) and develop and implement action plans to improve their workplace climate.
The PSC of each organisational unit was measured at the beginning and end of the mentoring process, with a final measurement taken three months after mentoring. Employers also shared experiences and resources during monthly networking meetings.
The program evaluation indicated that the program and its activities significantly increased PSC of the experimental groups, and thereby reduced the risk of work health and safety harm.
Participants have also reported that the program was useful in building their capacity to manage workplace psychosocial risks and has reduced the psychological impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on participating employer groups.
More than half of Australian workers consider their workplace to be mentally healthy. At the same time, mental health conditions cost Australian workplaces nearly $13 billion each year.
Most employers monitor incidence and injury data to minimise work health and safety risks. However, workplaces have the opportunity to understand lead workplace health and safety indicators to better predict and remedy poor outcomes before they occur.
Comcare partnered with CWeX UniSA to offer employers assistance with implementing work health and safety lead indicators in their workplaces.
Research program details
Eight Comcare scheme employers participated in the program, forming 11 experimental and 11 control groups.
Participants in the experimental groups took part in the following activities throughout the course of the program:
- implementing the PSC-12 survey within 11 organisational units (more than 20 workers)
- a workshop for employer representatives on workplace psychology theory and practice, and practical application of the Psychosocial Safety Climate (PSC) Framework
- developing action plans based on the learnings from the workshop
- a three-month mentoring service by expert UniSA work health and safety consultants
- evaluating the implementation process and changes in the PSC within the participating organisations over time.
Work health and safety lead indicators
Work health and safety lead indicators are conditions in the workplace that can be observed, measured, and used to predict future trends in work health and safety and wellbeing.
‘Psychosocial safety climate’ (PSC)
PSC refers to the workplace climate for worker mental health and is an evidence-based lead indicator for working conditions, mental health and engagement.
The PSC can be measured using the PSC-12 scale, which predicts levels of psychosocial risk in the workplace, focusing specifically on management commitment, management priority, organisational participation and organisational communication.
A low PSC-12 score indicates that the organisational climate has a high risk of poor wellbeing outcomes, such as job strain and burnout among workers.
Improving the PSC provides benefits to physical and mental health and can help reduce productivity loss due to sickness absence and presenteeism.
Comcare and CWeX UniSA.
Other organisations involved
Participating employers remain de-identified due to privacy requirements.
Findings and reports
See other mental health initiatives that Comcare is leading or a part of.
For more information on this research project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.