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Psychosocial hazard #14 – Conflict or poor workplace relationships and interactions

by | Dec 17, 2023 | C1: Commitment, C2: Capability, C3: Competency, C4: Culture, Diversity, Employee Engagement, EVP, Psychosocial hazards

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The final psychosocial hazard that is listed in Safe Work Australia’s Model Code of Practice on Managing Psychosocial Hazards at Work is “conflict or poor workplace relationships or interactions”.

Why is conflict or poor workplace relationships or interactions a psychosocial hazard?

This hazard involves poor workplace relationships or interpersonal conflict between colleagues or with other businesses, clients or customers.

It may involve frequent disagreements, disparaging or rude comments, from one person or multiple people. A worker can be both the subject and the source of the behaviour. It could also be inappropriately excluding a worker from work-related activities. 

Some questions that you might ask to assess whether there are any  psychosocial hazards related to conflict or poor workplace relationships and interactions in your workplace include:

  • Is the workplace one where staff are encouraged to compete with each other and so they don’t support each other?
  • Is there a culture where swearing, name calling, being rude or spreading rumours are commonplace and not addressed appropriately?
  • Are there managers or customers who make unreasonable demands on workers and who are critical or complain when they don’t get what they want?
  • Is the leadership team dysfunctional and not respected by the workers?
  • Does the workplace lack the policies and procedures and the training that are needed to set appropriate standards of behaviour and to effectively deal with any incidences of disrespectful or unsatisfactory conduct?
  • Are changes made to work processes, systems or resources without consulting the affected workers?
  • Do you have managers who micro manage people who don’t need that level of supervision to do their jobs?
  • Is there a lack of defined work processes and clarity of roles and interdependencies between workers?

This list is not exhaustive and while we have based these posts on the model code produced by Safe Work Australia, there can be differences in the specific details for each State or Territory. So you need to check that in the jurisdiction in which your workplace lies.

Need help?

Give us a call on 1300 108 488 to arrange your free first consultation to see how we can help with advice and support on this or any other HR matter.


Ridgeline Human Resources Pty Ltd
ABN : 24 091 644 094

6 Ellesmere Ave, Croydon Victoria 3136

1300 108 488