MANAGING THE HEALTH AND SAFETY LEGAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL RAMIFICATIONS OF COVID-19: AN AUSTRALIAN MULTIDISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVE

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Abstract

COVID-19 represents unprecedented challenges for the entire community. Much of Australia’s commercial sector has voluntarily deployed strategies to support social distancing ahead of any lock downs. Businesses are working to safely maintain operations and a productive workforce throughout social isolation/distancing for an unknown duration. Yet uncertainty, ambiguity and radical change are breeding grounds for anxiety, stress and helplessness. Conditions that contradict safe mental health practices for work. The Australian perspective includes the cumulative stressors of the bushfires, torrential rains and floods. Each of these stressors was an environmental stressor. But people and businesses knew what to do. The newest cumulative stressor is remote work becoming the norm. Workplaces have often had a mediating effect as a point of social interaction. Legally mandated safe spaces that people could connect and be productive within. There is much research on the connection between social isolation and loneliness. Organisations need to support workers in maintaining social connections, team cohesion and productivity throughout these times. This paper will explore the health and safety legal obligations that apply in this context and outline a practical framework for organisations to contribute to and reinforce a positive state of mental health during the mass remote work experiment.

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How to Cite
PHILLIPS, P., TITTERTON, A., & TOOMA, M. (2020). MANAGING THE HEALTH AND SAFETY LEGAL AND PSYCHOLOGICAL RAMIFICATIONS OF COVID-19: AN AUSTRALIAN MULTIDISCIPLINARY PERSPECTIVE. Society Register, 4(3), 45-66. https://doi.org/10.14746/sr.2020.4.3.02
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Articles
Author Biographies

PAUL PHILLIPS, Need A Psych

Paul A. Phillips (PhD, University of Sydney) is Founder and Psychologist at Need a Psych, Director & Chief Mental Health Officer at Suremploy and Founder & Psychologist at The Greyscale.

ALENA TITTERTON, Clyde & Co

Alena Titterton (LLB (Hons), B Beh Sci (Psych), Grad Dip Leg Prac (With Distinction), Griffith University) is a partner at Clyde & Co where she specialises in health, safety and security matters globally, based in Australia.

MICHAEL TOOMA, Clyde & Co

Michael Tooma (BComm, LLB (Hons), LLM, Fellow of Australian Institute of Health and Safety) is the Global Head of Health and Safety at Clyde & Co and the Managing Partner of its Australian operations.

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