Low Role Clarity

Lack of or low role clarity and role conflict are a key psychosocial hazards. They can lead to psychological injury through the stress caused by not understanding what needs to be done and exacerbate the risk of physical injury too. Remember, your employer has a duty to provide a safe workplace under section 21 of the OHS Act 2004 as well as the duty to provide adequate training and information for you to be able to perform your role safely. They also have the duty to monitor the conditions of the workplace to make sure they are safe under section 22 and the duty to consult on matters relating to health and safety under Section 35. The OHS Act empowers HSRs to take action on low role clarity. Some signs to look out for are:

Low Role Clarity  Role Conflict

Uncertainty about or frequent changes to tasks and work standards

A worker has to perform a task that conflicts with their values or expectations

Important task information that is not available to the employee

A worker is torn between two or more job demands that cannot be realistically achieved at the same time

Conflicting job roles, responsibilities or expectations, such as an employee is told one job is a priority but another manager disagrees or priorities are changed

Unclear reporting lines or competing demands

Poor explanation about an employee's performance objectives, accountabilities and others' expectations of their performance


For detailed information on how to address low role clarity, see: 

1. WorkSafe's topic page on low role clarity. Contains examples of what you can push your employer to implement as an HSR. 

2. Safe Work Australia's topic page on low role clarity.

3. NSW Government advice on supporting role clarity

Remember, OHS is state based legislation, so information from NSW and Safe Work Australia do not carry legal weight but still form part of the 'state of knowledge'.