Work Stress 2013 – Statistics from Safe Work Australia

Work Stress 2013 – Statistics from Safe Work Australia

July 8, 2015

This is the executive summary from this, the first document of its type I have seen (click here to see the complete document).  You can see why all governments put obstacles in the way of claimants, with specific wording eg the specific injury rather than a specific injury (Queensland and South Australia), different thresholds for psychiatric as opposed to physical injury (all states) and exclusions, in South Australia no compensation for non economic loss. Note that general clerks, police officers and school teachers accounted for the majority of ‘work pressure’ claims.  i have also included sub-categories of ‘work stress’ for your information.

Executive Summary

  • Mental stress claims are the most expensive form of workers’ compensation claims because of the often lengthy periods of absence from work typical of these claims.
  • 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 decreases.
  • 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 other sub-category.
  • 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 45–49 years.
  • 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 sub-category 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 traumatic event.

Sub-Categories of Work Stress

The mechanism of Mental stress is assigned to claims where an employee has experienced an injury or disease because of mental stress in the course of their employment. Mental stress includes sub-categories distinguished by the nature of the actions, exposures and events that might lead to disorders as specified. The sub categories are:

  • Work pressure—mental stress disorders arising from work responsibilities and workloads, deadlines, organisational restructure, workplace interpersonal conflicts and workplace performance or promotion issues.
  • Exposure to workplace or occupational violence—includes being the victim of assault by a person or persons who may or may not be work colleagues; and being a victim of or witnessing bank robberies, hold-ups and other violent events.
  • Exposure to traumatic event—disorders arising from witnessing a fatal or other incident.
  • Suicide or attempted suicide—includes all suicides regardless of circumstances of death and all attempted suicides.
  • Other mental stress factors—includes dietary or deficiency diseases (Bulimia, Anorexia).
  • Work-related harassment &/or workplace bullying—repetitive assault and/or threatened assault by a work colleague or colleagues; and repetitive verbal harassment, threats, and abuse from a work colleague or colleagues.
  • Other harassment—being the victim of sexual or racial harassment by a person or persons including work colleague/s.


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