Emergence of psychosocial considerations for improving safety in the New Zealand forest industry

Authors: Shaun Cawood, Trevor Best, Rien Visser
Publication: New Zealand Journal of Forestry, Volume N.Z.J.For. 2021, Issue N.Z.J.For. 66(2) 2021, pp 16-26, Aug 2021
Publisher: New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Abstract: There is a growing body of evidence that psychosocial factors have a significant impact on the mental and physical health of workers through increasing stress, depression and anxiety. However, psychosocial factors may also directly influence workplace behaviours to the point where unsafe acts may result. This paper presents an overview of a contemporary understanding of psychosocial influences, by exploring their meaning and development and as they relate to New Zealand forest industry safety. Also presented is how psychosocial considerations have been integrated into health and safety laws over time. Although this paper concludes that our pragmatic understanding of psychosocial influences on workplace behaviour is a relatively recent phenomenon, it also shows that the Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) has legal responsibility for the health and safety impact of worker behaviours and therefore may need to concern themselves with psychosocial influences.