Improving mental health and minimising harassment in the workplace

Date: Jul 26, 2012

When people think about workers compensation claims, chances are images of catastrophic injury spring to mind.

Compensation is often allocated to those who have sustained physical harm caused by onsite accidents or negligence.

However, in reality, millions of dollars of payments are spent compensating people who have been harassed in the workplace.

According to NSW minister for finances and services Greg Pearce, bullying has cost the state a concerning amount of money.

“In the last three financial years in NSW there have been 4,746 workers compensation claims for bullying and harassment at a cost of almost $100 million,” he said in a statement released on Sunday July 22.

This problem has prompted the state to explore ways that they can help minimise both the financial and emotional impact of bullying.

Harassment in the workplace can lead to significant mental health issues, especially when left unresolved.

To help manage this area of concern, WorkCover has developed a Bullying Prevention Kit designed to give employers tips about handling complaints and recognising instances.

Every boss or manager with an interest in maintaining health and safety in the workplace may benefit from doing what they can to prevent harassment, as although this is often an emotional problem it can lead to physical injury.

“Bullying is repeated unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety,” Mr Pearce explained.

“Investigation, regular monitoring, and reviews of bullying are important so workers know it is taken seriously and that procedures to control the risk of bullying are effective.”

Mr Peace then went on to say that focusing on prevention can not only make the work environment a happier place, it may also improve productivity levels and morale.

“By reducing bullying in the workplace, businesses benefit from reduced absenteeism and improved morale among their workers which in the long term, improves productivity and profitability,” he asserted.

The kit is available for free download on the WorkCover NSW website.

Although this resource is a NSW initiative, bullying and harassment does not seem to be a problem limited to this state.

On Monday (July 23), the federal minister for mental health Mark Butler launched a new website called myCompass that is designed to help people across the country manage anxiety.

This was released in response to concerning figures that three million people experience some form of mental illness every year.

If you ever feel like bullying or harassment is impacting on your esteem and confidence and posing a threat to your safety in the workplace, it may be a good idea to speak to your employer.

In some instances you could be also eligible for compensation. There are lawyers in Sydney that can discuss your options with you.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.