Mental stress claims make up a small portion of all workers’ compensation claims, but are significantly more costly for employers, according to new data from SafeWork Australia.
The median cost of a mental stress claim due to work pressure was $26,299, while the median cost of a mental stress claim to workplace harassment or bullying was $27,153. These numbers dwarf the median direct cost of all workers’ compensation claims, which was $2,598.
Bullying-related claims also result in significantly more time lost – 10.4 working weeks for bullying claims, compared to 0.8 working weeks for all accepted claims.
The latest edition of Safe Work Australia’s Psychosocial health and safety and bullying in Australian workplaces, found that, overall, the frequency rate (claims per 100 million hours worked) of mental stress claims had fallen between 2002-03 and 2015-16. The rate for harassment and bullying claims has increased over that same period, but has been trending down since peaking in 2010-11.
Industries with a high rate of harassment/bullying were public order and safety services (48.4 claims per 100 million hours worked), residential care services (42.2), local government administration (42.2), school education (32.1) and hospitals (26.4). The report also found that female employees are almost 3 times more likely to make a claim for harassment/bullying.
Causes for mental stress claims included:
• Work pressures (30%)
• Harassment/ bullying (29%)
• Exposure to violence (16%)
• Exposure to a traumatic event (13%)
• Other mental stress factors (13%)
You can view SafeWork Australia’s complete report, here.
Learn more about identifying and managing issues that can impact employee mental health.
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The platform is an identification and documentation tool. Management are not required to ‘fix’ mental health issues but they must demonstrate due diligence. Organisations are not obliged to treat disorders but the can encourage employees to seek professional help. The platform facilitates communication, helps to reduce stigma and alerts management to issues.
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