Supporting a safe and healthy legal workplace

Guidelines FAQ’s

 What are the Guidelines?

  • A management framework for organisations to create a psychologically safe and healthy workplace for ALL
  • A set of tools and resources
  • They identify a set of workplace factors that can become risk factors for psychological ill-health of staff and managers.
  • Focus on the prevention of harm by addressing the causes of workplace stress
  • Promote mental health
  • They are NOT a mental health program
  • They need to be sustained over time
  • They focus on ongoing improvement and cultural change


Why ?

  • Rapid changes in the work environment and the nature of work causes increased and sustained stress to individuals
  • Leading cause of short‐ and long‐term disability in Australia is linked to mental health problems
  • Stress takes a substantial toll on individuals and Australian workplaces
  • Suicide rates are increasing
  • Suffering and disability impacts individuals, families, friends, colleagues and community
  • Workplace plays an essential part in maintaining positive mental health.
  • A psychologically safe and healthy workplaces benefits families and communities .
  • Business imperative to creating a systematic and sustainable approach for psychological safety and health similar in spirit to how physical health and safety is managed
  • Healthy people are happier and work better

Why TJMF ?

  • Feedback from lawyers
  • Need for action not just talking about problem
  • Challenge issued –What is TJMF going to DO?

Finding the Guidelines?

  • Original idea came from the health sector where hospitals implement workplace standards
  • Could workplace mental health standards be a possible way forward?
  • TJMF looked at:
    what others are doing overseas
    was there a precedent
    we needed evidence
  • 2013 Canada released the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace
    CAN/CSA-Z1003-13/BNQ 9700-803/2013 National Standard of Canada: Psychological health and safety in the workplace — Prevention, promotion, and guidance to staged implementation
  • TJMF guidelines were adapted for the legal profession from the National Standard of Canada

Why has TJMF changed the wording of the name of the guidelines from ‘Psychological’ to ‘TJMF Workplace Wellbeing: Best Practice Guidelines’?

Feedback from the profession pointed out that the term ‘psychological’ created uncertainty and concern which led to a reluctance for workplaces to sign up. The guidelines document itself is unchanged except that the terms ‘psychological’ and ‘psychosocial’ have been replaced by the term ‘workplace’.

The ‘psychosocial factors’ are now referred to as ‘workplace factors’.

What are the Workplace Factors (WF)? 

WF 1. Organisational culture

WF 2. Psychological and social support

WF 3. Clear leadership and expectations

WF 4. Civility and respect

WF 5. Psychological competencies and requirement

WF 6. Growth and development

WF 7. Recognition and reward

WF 8. Good involvement and influence by staff

WF 9. Workload management

WF 10. Engagement

WF 11. Balance

WF 12. Psychological protection

WF 13. Protection of physical safety

Who identified the workplace factors

Martin Shain 

Shain M. (2012) The Road to Psychological Safety : Legal, scientific and social foundations for a national standard for psychological safety in the workplace

  • focused on the ‘workplace’ factors impacting stress
  • changed the conversation of individuals with mental ill-health to workplace psychological safety and health
  • Evidence identifies a key set of workplace factors that alone, but more typically in combination impact psychological safety
  • These factors relate to the way work is organised and the interpersonal relationships within the workplace


Vezina M. (2013) Meeting fundamental human needs is vital to promote psychological health in the workplace

  • These factors can be conceptualised as human needs that when unmet    or thwarted can become risk factors for psychological distress.

What is a psychologically safe and healthy workplace?

It is a workplace where :


  • Actively work to prevent harm to the psychological ill health of staff through negligent, reckless or intentional acts. 
  • Take all reasonable steps to minimise threats to staff mental health
  • Ensure the mental health of their staff is protected
  • promote the psychological well-being of all staff

All staff:

  • feel confident that it is ‘safe’ to speak up
  • and that neither management nor members of their team/colleagues will embarrass, reject or punish someone for speaking up.

Why is psychological safety important?

It is important to note that ensuring safety (in the sense of preventing psychological harm) is a prerequisite to the promotion of health.

Positive indicators of psychological safety

  • Comfort to make mistakes
  • Comfort to ask questions
  • Learning from failure
  • Everyone openly shares ideas
  • Better innovation and decision making

Concerning indicators of psychological danger

  • Fear of making mistakes
  • Blaming others
  • Fear of asking questions
  • Less likely to share different views
  • ‘Common knowledge’ effect

Business Case for the Guidelines?

They focus on 4 pillars

  • Enhanced cost effectiveness
  • Improved risk management
  • Increased organisational recruitment and retention
  • Corporate social responsibility

Healthy People :

  • are more productive and efficient,
  • make fewer errors
  • engage in discretionary and pro- social behaviour-less bullying, harassment
  • reduce costs- less turnover, recruitment, insurance premiums, stress leave, claims
  • retain -corporate knowledge, expertise and experience
  • reduce stress to managers


Guidelines are good for business, good for people and good for mental health


Just for large firms?

  • NO -The guidelines are applicable to and can be implemented by ALL workplaces


Who can become a signatory?

  • The guidelines are intended for EVERYONE whether or not they live with a mental illness.
  • They are NOT a mental health program


Signing up means?

This is a public declaration stating that your workplace supports and is committed to creating a psychologically safe and healthy workplace.

How do I sign up?

Sign up on our website


The guidelines are fully downloadable and available free of charge

One size fits all?

NO – As each workplace is unique and implementation is different for each.


  • The guidelines are not compulsory.
  • They are voluntary.
  • They are not a legal framework or regulation.


NONE There is no minimum requirement


  • NO compliance is required
  • The guidelines are a choice

Reporting requirements?

  • NONE- TJMF will never request any organisational information or data from your workplace
  • The guidelines focus on creating and sustaining psychological health and safety within each individual workplace through ongoing improvement.
  • They are not a means of comparing workplaces.

Do the guidelines conflict with WHS?

  1. The guidelines address psychological workplace safety. This is incorporated in and a critical aspect of WHS.

Will the guidelines change?

NO – the workplace factors themselves will not change. However ongoing research may contribute new insights and information.