WorkSafe joined with Kmart New Zealand to look at how businesses minimise psychosocial risks in their workplaces.

Negative workplace interactions or environments can impact a worker’s mental health and wellbeing. This is called psychosocial risk.

Workers at Kmart completed a survey and a series of interviews about the policies, practices and procedures in place to protect worker mental wellbeing. Some key findings from the surveys are covered in the videos below.


With more than 300 department stores across Australia and New Zealand, Kmart employs over 44,000 workers. Kmart openly states its commitment to providing an inclusive, flexible environment where people can bring their whole selves to work.

In the short videos below, you’ll hear from Kmart about the importance of good work design, leadership and putting people first in all the work they do.

Kmart managers: supporting staff to deal with psychosocial risks

Kmart managers Benny and Matt: tools and resources to support staff

Kmart staff: our experiences being supported at work

About Psychosocial Safety Climate

The Psychosocial Safety Climate survey is evidence-based and measures the priority an organisation gives to worker wellbeing. It also explores communication with workers around wellbeing issues and how workers are encouraged to have input into assessing and managing psychosocial risks in their workplace. You can find more information on Psychosocial Safety Climate on Massey University’s Healthy Work Project website.

The Healthy Work Project – He Hauora Te Taonga – Health Is Our Treasure(external link)

Recent New Zealand data shows that workers in the retail sector are exposed to a range of psychosocial risks due to the nature of their work environment and demands at work.

Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 2015, New Zealand businesses are required to identify psychosocial hazards and take steps to eliminate or mitigate risks as much as reasonably practicable. Like all sectors, retail businesses can take steps to reduce these risks.  Some risks are difficult to remove entirely, such as challenging interactions with customers and isolated work. However, actions such as restricting customers' physical access to workers and providing workers with training on procedures for working safely can make a difference in protecting workers.

In addition to identifying and assessing risks, businesses should also consider what protective factors their workplace has that could be strengthened. Examples of protective factors include good work design like managing workload and clarity of overlapping roles and engaged leadership. These safeguard workers from harm and improve wellbeing.