Work-related mental health conditions take a huge toll on worker health and productivity, with the negative impact felt by individuals, their families, and colleagues. Take a look at the photo of today which shows the rate, type, and causes of work-related mental health conditions to help you focus on how to reduce these statistics.
Mental health can be adversely affected by exposure to a range of hazards or factors in the workplace, including, for example:
- high job demand
- low job demand
- poor support
- poor workplace relationships
- low role clarity
- poor organizational change management
- poor organizational justice
- poor environmental conditions
- remote or isolated work, and
- violent or traumatic events.
Exposure to these hazards can lead to work-related stress. When stress is very high and or prolonged it can, in turn, lead to work-related psychological or physical injury. For example, work-related stress may lead to depression and anxiety in the long term.
Work-related stress has been linked with high levels of:
- unplanned absences including sick leave
- staff turnover
- withdrawal and presenteeism, and
- poor work and poor product quality.
Between 2010–11 and 2014–15, around 91% of workers’ compensation claims involving a mental health condition were linked to work-related stress or mental stress—mental stress refers to the mechanism of injury describing work-related stress in claims data. The most common mechanisms causing mental stress were:
- work pressure (31%)
- work-related harassment and/or bullying (27%)
- exposure to the workplace or occupational violence (14%)
- other mental stress (9%)
- exposure to a traumatic event (7%)
- vehicle accident (3%)
- being assaulted (3%), and
- sexual/racial harassment (2%).
Most at risk occupations
Over the five-year period, the occupations with the highest rate of claims for mental health conditions were:
- defense force members, firefighters, and police (5.3 claims per million hours), specifically police (6.6)
- automobile, bus, and rail drivers (2.8 claims per million hours), specifically train and tram drivers (10.3)
- health and welfare support workers (2.8 claims per million hours), specifically indigenous health workers (6.0)
- prison and security officers (1.6 claims per million hours), specifically prison officers (4.0), and
- social and welfare professionals (1.2 claims per million hours).
The highest occupation unit groups were:
- train and tram drivers (10.3 claims per million hours)
- police (6.6 claims per million hours)
- Indigenous health workers (6.0 claims per million hours)
- prison officers (4.0 claims per million hours)
- ambulance officers and paramedics (4.0 claims per million hours).
The overall rate of claims for mental health conditions (all occupations) was 0.51 claims per million hours, and the frequency rate fell from 0.51 in 2005–06 to 0.43 in 2014–15.
The nature of these occupation groups suggests that workers who receive compensation for a work-related mental health condition tend to be those who have high levels of interaction with other people, are often providing a public service, and often doing their job in difficult and challenging circumstances.
Work health and safety duties
the employers are required to ensure the health and safety of their workers, so far as is reasonably practicable. It defines health to mean both physical and psychological health.
- Under the HSE ACT, employers have a duty to protect workers from psychological risks as well as physical risks.
- The best way to do this is by designing work, systems, and workplaces to eliminate or minimize risks to psychological health; monitoring the health of workers and workplace conditions, and consulting with workers.
- Employers also have a duty to make sure work is safe for those returning after a workplace illness or injury.
Under the laws, employers must consult with workers on health and safety matters that are likely to directly affect them, including psychological hazards and risks. Further information on the consultation is in the Model Code of Practice: Work health and safety consultation, cooperation, and coordination.
It also makes good business sense to prevent or minimize risks to psychological health. Work environments that do not adequately manage these risks can incur significant human and financial costs.
Workers have a duty to take reasonable care of their health and safety and not adversely affect others’ health and safety. They must comply, so far as they are reasonably able, with reasonable instructions on health and safety matters, and cooperate with reasonable WHS policies or procedures that they have been notified of. For example, this might include working on job descriptions to avoid role conflict or cooperating with workplace policies to prevent bullying.
People at Work online psychosocial risk assessment tool
Workplaces can use the People at Work online risk assessment tool to identify and manage work-related risks to psychological health and compare themselves to other workplaces.
This free online risk assessment tool is easy to use and includes supporting resources for businesses.
Work health and safety laws require employers to eliminate or minimize work-related psychosocial risks as far as is reasonably practical. Use the People at Work online assessment tool to help your workplace identify, assess, and action psychosocial risks.
The employers should intervene if they identify a psychological risk or notice a worker becoming stressed, and support a worker who has lodged a workers compensation claim while their claim is being determined. The earlier a worker is identified as experiencing work-related stress, the sooner steps can be taken to prevent a work-related mental health condition from developing or an existing condition from worsening.
Managing work-related mental health condition claims
Best practice psychological claims management begins with recognizing the complexity and unique challenges often seen with psychological injuries, and ensuring an injured worker is empowered and supported throughout the claims process.
The Taking Action: A best practice framework for the management of psychological claims in the Australian workers’ compensation sector (the framework) provides evidence-based guidance to assist insurers and claims managers to better support workers with a work-related mental health condition or who are at risk of developing one.
Recovery and Return to Work
Recovery and return to work (RTW) relate to supporting workers to come back or stay at work after experiencing a work-related mental health condition. It is important employers ensure workers return to a safe environment where psychological hazards are identified and controlled.
Work-Related Mental Health
- Photo of the day: Incident Investigations
- Photo of the day: 10 Scaffold Safety Essentials
- Photo of the day: Effective Health and Safety Committees
- Photo of the day: New worker Orientation & Safety Orientation checklist
- Photo of the day: Workplace Inspection
- Photo of the day: musculoskeletal disorders
- Photo of the day: Emergency preparedness in the workplace
- Photo of the day: Mental health in the workplace
- Photo of the day: Trenching Safety Tips That Can Save a Life
- Photo of the day: Dangerous Goods Classes
- Photo of the day: Safety Equipment for Confined Spaces
- Photo of the day: Safe work practices when using MEWPs
- Photo of the day: Tips to reduce Heat stress in the workplace
- Photo of the day: hierarchy of controls
- Your steps to chemical safety
- H2S Gas and how to handle its Emergency
- Photo of the day: Importance of Mock drill and Fire Action Emergency Procedure
- Photo of the day: Choosing the Right Face Mask and the difference between a respirator and face mask
- Photo of the day: Confined space safety Precautions
- Breath Safely: The Proper Use of Respiratory Protection
- Photo of the day: Electric shock survival
- Photo of the day: Chemical Spill Emergency Response
- Photo of the day: Construction Site fire Safety
- Photo of the day: Confined Space rescue
- Photo of the day: Conveyors Safety Tips
- Photo of the day: 5 Essential outcomes of an effective leadership survey process
- Photo of the day: Safe Lifting at work
- Photo of the day: 5 Ways to Reinforce Commuting With Positive Reinforcement
- Photo of the day: Eyes on the Road The challenges of safe driving
- Photo of the day: Overhead powerline safety
- Photo of the day: Top10 Injuries in office work
- Photo of the day: You can prevent workplace Falls
- Photo of the day: 8 Basic steps to wear a safety harness
- Photo of the day: Ladder Safety Tips
- Photo of the day: Fire Emergency
- Photo of the day: Glove Safety
- Photo of the day: A mistake you see your mistake too
- Photo of the day: Most common safety incidents in the workplace
- Photo of the day: Fire Safety checklist for workplace
- Photo of the day: How to Avoid the Fatal Four
- Photo of the day: What is the line of fire
- Photo of the day: workplace Hazards
- Photo of the day: Fostering Engagement at the front line
- Photo of the day: FrontLine supervisors are the LINCHPINS of safety
- Photo of the day:5 keys for effective Self-Management in lone worker safety
- Photo of the day:7 Ineffective Safety Practices (And What To Do Instead)
- Photo of the day:5-Signs your Near-Miss Reporting is failing
- Photo of the day: 10 Elements of Successful Behavior-Based Safety Program
- Photo of the day: Tracking Near Miss Incidents
- Photo of the day: What Doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
- Photo of the day: 5 Tips to keep your Crew Healthy and safe at work
- Photo of the day: DO’S and DON’TS of Working At Heights
- Photo of the day: Why is PPE important?
- Photo of the day: Unsafe Conditions
- Photo of the day: Safety Leader
- Photo of the day: Outline Safety observations
- Photo of the day: What are the hazards
- Photo of the day: Hand safety Facts
- Photo of the day: Identify the Hazards