PSYCH HAZARDS: SWA CEO SOUNDS ALARM

Safe Work Australia's CEO, Marie Boland, has affirmed the need for better management of psychosocial hazards in the workplace as the number of mental health compensation claims continues to rise.

Ms. Boland's comments coincide with Tuesday’s release of an SWA report showing mental health conditions accounted for 9% of all serious workers' compensation claims in 2021-22, marking an increase of almost 37% from 2017-18.

Psychosocial hazards are increasingly injuring workers, with women particularly affected, representing almost 58% of serious claims. Psychological injury claims typically result in higher compensation payouts and require longer periods of absence from work, compared to physical injuries.

Ms. Boland has highlighted the importance of addressing harmful behaviours like harassment, bullying, workplace violence, and aggression in sectors with a high proportion of female workers such as social assistance, healthcare, and education.

The report also underscores the importance of creating boundaries between work and personal life to reduce burnout and improve mental health.

Prior to assuming her role as CEO of SWA, Ms. Boland completed a 2018 national review of Australia's model work health and safety laws. Recommendations from the Boland review included implementing measures to identify and manage psychosocial risks in the workplace.

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