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Lead indicators mentoring program – Research project

For: Employers and managers Information seekers

Comcare is partnering with the University of South Australia (UniSA) to help employers better understand work health and safety lead indicators so they can predict and prevent poor health and safety outcomes at work.

Project update

The mentoring phase of this project was finalised in November 2019.

Throughout this three-month mentoring phase, each participating employer engaged with UniSA 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 and a final measurement will be taken three-months after mentoring. Employers also shared experiences and resources during monthly networking meetings held by Comcare.

An evaluation report will be developed by mid-2020.

Project overview

More than half of Australian workers consider their workplace to be mentally healthy. At the same time, mental health conditions cost Australian workplaces nearly $11 billion each year.

Most employers monitor incidence and injury data to minimise work health and safety risks. However, workplaces also have the opportunity to understand lead work health and safety indicators to better predict and remedy poor outcomes before they occur.

Comcare has partnered with UniSA to offer employers assistance with implementing WHS lead indicators in their workplaces.

Research program details

The research program includes:

  • implementing the PSC-12 survey within 11 organisational units (20+ workers)
  • a workshop for employer representatives on workplace psychology theory and practice, and practical application of the 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.

Terms explained

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)

‘Psychosocial safety climate’ (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 scoring 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
  • presenteeism - coming into work while unwell.

Project participants

Project leads

Comcare and UniSA

Other organisations involved

Participating employers cannot be named due to privacy and ethics requirements.


A summary of program outcomes will be available on project completion.

Related links

More information

For more information on this research project, please email mentalhealthprogram@comcare.gov.au.

This project is part of our Research Plan Towards 2022 and supports our purpose to enable healthy and safe workplaces.

Page last reviewed: 15 December 2019
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Date printed 12 Jul 2020