Mental stress has accounted for an average of 95% of mental disorder claims over the past 10 years.
SafeWork Australia produced a report about this in April 2013.
Their findings were:
Mental stress claims are the most expensive form of workers’ compensation
claims because of the often lengthy periods of absence from work typical of
>> Mental stress claims are predominantly made by women.
>> Men and women are more likely to make a claim for mental stress as they
get older but after they reach 54 years the likelihood that they made a claim
>> More Professionals made claims for mental stress than other any other
occupation with over a third of their claims made for Work pressure.
>> There were more mental stress claims made for Work pressure than any
>> The hazards that result 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, whereas Work pressure is the main
cause of mental stress claims for older workers, peaking for those aged
>> General clerks, School teachers and Police Officers accounted for the
majority of claims for Work pressure.
>> Women were around three times more likely than men to make a workers’
compensation claim due to Work-related harassment &/or workplace
bullying. Approximately one-third of all claims in this mental stress subcategory
were made by workers in the occupational categories of Advanced
clerical & service workers and General clerks.
>> For the industries with the highest number/rate of mental stress claims, the
majority of claims were for Work pressure. This was particularly true in the
Education sector. Claims for Exposure to workplace or occupational violence
were notable in the Retail trade industry, while the Transport & storage and
Health & community services industries dominated claims for Exposure to a
WorkSafe Australia produced a further report in 2015 – Work-Related Mental Disorders profile
Their findings were that 6% of all workers compensation claims were for mental disorders .
The typical compensation payment for such a claim was $23,600 totalling $480 million for the 7820 Australian claimants. The average period of time spent off work was 14.8 weeks. 39% of these claims were for harassment/bullying/exposure to violence. 90% of all mental disorder claims were attributed to stress.
65% of all mental disorder claims were awarded to workers aged 40 or over.
For 1 million hours of work there were 0.5 mental disorder claims.
Occupations most at risk:
First responders-police, paramedics and firefighters comprising one in five of this group
welfare and community workers affirm one in 10 were compensated, prison officers, bus and rail drivers and teachers of whom one in five were compensated.
The more common conditions included reactions to stressors (41%), anxiety/stress disorders (28%) and post traumatic stress disorder (11%). Combined they accounted for, on average, about 4/5 mental disorder claims over the period.
The most up-to-date statistics are those provided by WorkSafe Western Australia in October 2016.
Their findings were that: Over four years, the number of stress-related claims increased by 25 per cent. In 2015/16, there were 547 stress-related claims lodged, representing
3.2 per cent of all workers’ compensation lost-time claims.
Although the number of stress-related claims increased, the frequency rate (claims per million hours worked) for stress-related claims is stable.
Females accounted for 59 per cent of stress-related claims compared with 41 per cent for males.
In terms of prevalence of stress claims, female workers tend to have a higher frequency rate.
The top three industries for stress-related claims were:
Health care and social assistance 25%
public administration and safety 24%
education and training 16%
The causes of stress and later claims included:
Work pressure 39%
Harassment and bullying 23%
exposure to a traumatic event 19%
exposure to workplace violence 14%
other causes 5%
There appears to be a significant drop in the number of stress-related claims in WA representing 3.2% of all workers compensation lost time claims, the WorkSafe Australia statistics were that 6% of all claims were stress-related. In Victoria in the late 1990s about 5.5% of all claims were stress-related. There appears to have been little real change in the incidence of stress-related disorders over the last 20 years.