Workplace Psychological Claims
Date: 16 April 2013

Safe Work Australia has recently released a report on work-related mental stress and the associated costs for organisations and their Workers Compensation premiums.
The report outlines that workers who have high levels of responsibility for the health, well-being and safety of other in the workplace, who are exposed to dangerous situations are also the most likely to suffer from stress related disorders and ultimately make a claim. Jobs such as train drivers and assistants, police officers, prison officers, ambulance officers and paramedics are some examples of these employees.
Other key findings of the report are:

  • Mental stress claims are the most expensive form of workers’ compensation claim.
  • These claims result in workers often being absent from work for extended periods, mental stress claims are predominantly made by women, more professionals make claims for mental stress than any other occupation.
  • A third of these claims are due to work pressure, the hazards resulting in mental stress claims vary with worker age.
  • Younger workers are more likely to make claims as a result of exposure to workplace or occupational violence.
  • Work pressure is the main cause of mental stress claims for older workers, women were around three times more likely than men to make a workers’ compensation claim as a result of work-related harassment or workplace bullying, and work pressure was stated as the cause of the majority of claims in industries with the highest claim rates.

Six risk factors were identified that increased the risk of psychological harm. These were:

  • High supervisor relationship conflict (emotional conflict, tension and general bad feelings)
  • High role ambiguity(being unsure of work goals and objectives or unclear about job duties and responsibilities)
  • High role overload(having unachievable deadlines and being required to work long hours with insufficient breaks)
  • High emotional demand(being required to hide feelings and not state opinions)
  • Strong project contract pressures (the pressure related to contract demands, time frames and budgets)
  • Strong pressure to accept work (the pressure to accept work or contracts as they arose, as well as the pressure to miss rostered days off and public holidays).

For more information about the management of psychological injuries, contact IOH today or alternatively, register your interest for our successful management of psychological injuries training course.