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We Are Union VTHC
We Are Union Journal
News from the working class
What do you mean, 'Closing the Loopholes'?

A Quiet Place

Are you able to provide me with research or data supporting for the establishment of a Quiet Mental Health Area in my workplace?

Whilst a quiet space or wellness area can be a particularly helpful workplace adjustment for neurodiverse employees, one should consider why the area is required in the first place. If it is required because the workplace creates mental health hazards for workers, the priority should be identifying and controlling systems of work that create the need for such an oasis in the first place.

We encourage HSRs to first focus on how to prevent exposure to hazards rather than reacting to that exposure.

Proposed new psychological health regulations will make it easier for employers to understand how to reduce worker exposure to psychological risks and will require, in the first instance, that system-of-work issues (high job demands, job insecurity, poor organisational change management, shift work, lack of role clarity etc) be addressed, before lower order controls are considered. 

Higher order, more effective controls, focus on changing the system-of-work to create a safe work environment. An example might be: eliminating work overload and addressing workplace culture so that regular breaks are both possible and encouraged.

Lower order controls focus on changing workers' behaviour, requiring the worker to protect themselves from what is essentially an unsafe work environment.