Workers’ compensation claims for bullying, harassment and mental stress rose between 2016 and 2018 according to new data released by Safe Work Australia.
Workers’ compensation statistics are just the tip of the iceberg – mental stress claims are significantly underreported in comparison to claims for physical injuries. Almost 67 percent of women who participated in the ACTU’s Work Shouldn’t Hurt survey said that they experienced poor mental health because their employer failed to properly manage a hazard in their workplace. Of these workers, just under 10 percent went on to make a claim for workers’ compensation.
ACTU Assistant Secretary Liam O’Brien says “The rates of mental stress in Australian workplaces are unacceptable and rising.”
He further highlighted that the new data shows just how serious the impact of occupational violence, bullying and harassment and workload are on the mental health of working Australians.
In the ACTU’s Work Shouldn’t Hurt survey, 98 per cent of workers said that they were in favour of health and safety regulations which guide employers in dealing with mental health hazards, such as bullying and harassment.
“We need new regulations to reduce the levels of psychosocial hazards in the workplace. We cannot simply continue to see more and more working people suffering mental and physical injuries every year.” Said Mr O’Brien.