Risk Management Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

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Guest Contributor: Vic Hardy There are compelling statistics on just how prevalent mental illness is in the workplac...

Guest Contributor: Vic Hardy

There are compelling statistics on just how prevalent mental illness is in the workplace. Research shows that Australian businesses lose over $6.5 billion each year by failing to provide early intervention and treatment for employees with mental health conditions. In relation to psychological injury claims, work pressure accounts for around half of all claims, compared to harassment and bullying which account for around a quarter of claims.

‘Mental illness in the workplace is a reality. Improperly managed, it poses real risks in terms of reduced productivity, workplace conflict and loss of morale, not to mention the spectre of corporate and executive liability if these issues continue to be neglected by senior decision-makers. 

‘Just as organisations have put in place practices to manage physical injuries in the workplace as part of their ‘business as usual’ obligations, they should now also address the implications of widespread mental illness in the workplace and adjust their risk management polices and OH&S practices accordingly,’ Mr Sheehy said.

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Fast facts about mental illness in the workplace

  • A total of 3.2 days per worker are lost each year through workplace stress
  • Stress-related workers’ compensation claims have doubled in recent years, costing over $10 billion each year
  • A survey of over 5,000 workers indicated that 25 per cent of workers took time off each year for stress-related reasons
  • Work pressure accounts for around half of all psychological injury claims while harassment and bullying represent around a quarter of such claims
  • Australian businesses lose over $6.5 billion each year by failing to provide early intervention/treatment for employees with mental health conditions.

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