The first annual statement by Safe Work Australia on the prevalence and effect of bullying in the workplace has been released. The Statement titled Psychosocial Health and Safety and Bullying in Australian Workplaces has been prepared in response to Recommendation 18 of the 2012 House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment report, Workplace Bullying: “We just want it to stop”.

Mental stress from workplace bullying

The Statement contains the most recently available statistics on accepted workers’ compensation claims caused by mental stress and specifically the subcategory of mental stress claims – harassment and or bullying.

Key findings presented in the annual statement include:

  • the rate of mental stress claims has fallen since 2001-02 but within these claims, the rate of harassment and/or workplace bullying has increased
  • Mental stress claims involve substantially longer periods of time off work and considerably higher costs than the typical workers’ compensation claim
  • the rate of workers’ compensation claims due to harassment and/or bullying made by females was three times higher than the rate of these claims made by males, and
  • the highest rate of claims for harassment and/or bullying occurred in the public order and safety services industry (primarily police services and corrective centres).