Workers’ compensation coverage of psychological injuries
Workers’ compensation is available for physical and psychological injury and disease.
An injured worker may be able to receive workers’ compensation for a psychological injury such as PTSD, anxiety and depression, if:
- the worker meets the scheme’s definition of worker or deemed worker, and
- work is a significant contributing factor to the psychological injury.
In some circumstances, if the psychological injury occurred in response to a reasonable decision or action taken by their employer, the worker may not be eligible for workers’ compensation.
Impact of psychological injuries at work
Work-related psychological injuries are a major concern for Australian workplaces. Generally, workers with psychological injuries have more time off work. These injuries can also be more complex than physical injuries because personal circumstances or stressful life events may contribute to the injury.
Safe Work Australia initiatives aimed at minimising the impact of psychological injuries
Safe Work Australia develops information and material based on research to improve and create consistencies across all workers’ compensation schemes in Australia.
We are aware of the importance of making workers’ compensation better for workers with psychological injuries. Our report, Taking Action: A best practice framework for the management of psychological claims in the Australian workers’ compensation sector, guides insurers and claims managers to support workers experiencing mental illness and those at risk.
The following research reports by Griffith University developed under the National Return to Work Strategy 2020-2030 also contribute to this area:
- Research to support workers’ psychological responses to injury and successful return to work.
- Research on the causes and impact of workplace stigma in the workplace and approaches to creating positive workplace cultures that support return to work.
Workers’ compensation data on psychological injury claims
Safe Work Australia releases an annual national statement that identifies 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. The latest one is:
- National Return to Work Strategy 2020-2030
- Comparison of workers' compensation arrangements in Australia and New Zealand 2019
- Mental health