How big a problem are mental health hazards?
6% of all serious workers’ compensation claims are for work-related mental health conditions.
7140 Australians are compensated for work-related mental health conditions
92% of serious work-related mental health condition claims are attributed to work related mental stress.
Work is a significant factor in people’s mental health. We know that meaningful, rewarding, good work can impact positively on our mental health. Equally we know that issues such as high workloads, customer and client aggression and poor workplace relationships can adversely impact on workers’ mental health.
Just like physical health and safety hazards, such as slippery surfaces, dangerous and unguarded machinery and badly set-up work stations, there are also workplace mental health hazards, like high and low job demands, isolated work and poor role clarity.
Workplaces are experiencing a mental health emergency, with workplace mental injuries now the fastest growing type of workplace injury in Australia.
Mental health hazards can have a major impact on individuals, but they also affect everyone in the workplace through high staff turnover, reduced productivity and of course, an increase in workers’ compensation claims.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions, in a joint initiative called Mind Your Head (with Employers Mutual Limited (EML) and WorkSafe), has just published a detailed and comprehensive guide for mental health at work for Health and Safety Representatives.
This guide covers a range of issues for HSRs, including:
- Rights and responsibilities for workers and HSRs
- How to identify common mental health hazards in workplaces, and how to conduct risk assessments
- Common psychological hazards including
- Organisational change management
- Low recognition or rewards
- Working in isolation
- Violence and trauma at work
- What do to if an mental health injury occurs
- And a comprehensive FAQ