Date PostedApril 22, 2013

Reporting on Workers Comp Mental Stress Claims

Lusi - stressFor the first time Safe Work Australia has released a report that looks at mental stress that is work related on its own.

The data that is used for the report is from workers that are covered by the countries workers compensation schemes AND have received compensation as a result of a claim for mental stress.

In the report it is highlighted that the highest mental stress rates are in either those workers that have a significant level of responsibility for others health and wellbeing or those workers that work in dangerous occupations.

Occupations such as train drivers, police officers, prison officers, ambulance officers and paramedics.

An excerpt from the report at is available below:

The full extent of mental stress in Australian workplaces (prevalence) is not known but is likely to be greater than indicated by workers’ compensation statistics because not all workers with mental stress apply for or receive compensation for their illness. for example the Australian Bureau of statistics (ABs) Work-related Injuries Survey 2009–10 showed that 70% of workers who reported they experienced work-related mental stress did not apply for workers’ compensationKey findings in this report:

  • 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 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 traumatic event.


Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning and web strategy firm based in George St Brisbane. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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