Recommendation 18 of the 2012 House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment report, Workplace Bullying: “We just want it to stop”, requested an annual update of trends in workers’ compensation data relating to psychosocial health and safety generally and workplace bullying specifically. The statement Psychosocial Health and Safety and Bullying in Australian Workplaces is Safe Work Australia’s response to this recommendation.
Psychosocial health refers to the physical, mental and social state of a person. The prevalence of mental stress, bullying and harassment provides a limited indicator of the psychosocial health and safety status of Australian workplaces.
This is the fifth annual national statement issued by Safe Work Australia to identify trends in psychosocial health and safety and bullying in Australian workplaces. The data presented in this statement are accepted workers’ compensation claims caused by mental stress. This mechanism of injury or disease is assigned to claims when an employee has been exposed to one of a range of stressors e.g. harassment or bullying, traumatic events or unreasonable work pressure, that has caused an injury or disease. Mental stress claims provide a source of information on the psychosocial health and safety status of Australian workplaces.
Mental stress includes a subcategory of claims for harassment and/or bullying. These data provide a reasonable match to the accepted definition of workplace bullying, which is repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety.
Workers’ compensation data provide the only national administrative data indicators for psychosocial stressors in Australian workplaces, including workplace bullying.