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Which industries have the highest rates of work-related harassment and bullying claims?

Which industries have the highest rates of work-related harassment and bullying claims?

On February 28, 2020, Safe Work Australia released the 2019 ‘Psychosocial health and safety and bullying in Australian workplaces’ annual statement.

Psychosocial health is the physical, mental and social state of a person. The nationally accepted definition of workplace bullying is the ‘repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety’ (Fair Work Act 2009, s.789FD(1).

Workplace bullying occurs when:

  • An individual or group of individuals repeatedly behaves unreasonably towards a worker or a group of workers at work,
    and
  • The behaviour creates a risk to health and safety.

The following behaviours could also be considered as bullying, based on cases heard:

  • Aggressive and intimidating conduct.
  • Belittling or humiliating comments.
  • Victimisation.
  • Spreading malicious rumours.
  • Practical jokes or initiation.
  • Exclusion from work-related events, and
  • Unreasonable work expectations.

Reasonable management action conducted in a reasonable manner does not constitute workplace bullying.

This report presents the statistics of workers compensation claims when the work-related injury or disease resulted from the person experiencing mental stress or being exposed to mentally stressful situations. The report excludes assault cases where the physical injuries were considered more serious than the mental stress involved in the incident.

The mental stress claims data includes a sub-category for work-related harassment and/or workplace bullying. This sub-category is given to claims when the employee was a victim of:

  • Repetitive assault and/or threatened assault by a work colleague or colleagues, or
  • Repetitive verbal harassment, threats, and abuse from a work colleague or colleagues.

This is the fifth annual national statement issued by Safe Work Australia.

Note: Data presented for mental stress are national figures but data for subcategories of mental stress exclude Victoria because Victorian data is not coded to that level of detail.

Key statistics in the report

 

Rates for both mental stress and harassment and/or bullying claims have risen over the last two years but they are less than the peak in 2010–11. Jurisdictional legislation is highly likely to have influenced the scope of claims involving mental stress over the reporting period.
 

Figure 1. Number, time lost, direct cost, frequency rate and incidence rate for mental stress claims, 2016–17

*Victoria only provides data on the top-level category of mental stress claims, so is included in the total but not the breakdown of sub‑categories. As a result, figures for the total mental stress claims may not equal the sum of columns.

**The Other harassment sub-category includes victims of sexual or racial harassment by a person or persons including work colleague/s.

Notes:

  1. The mechanism of incident classification identifies the overall action, exposure or event that best describes the circumstances that resulted in the most serious injury or disease.
  2. In previous statements, the amount of median compensation paid were calculated after excluding ‘zero dollar’ claims. In this report, all serious claims (including ‘zero dollar’ claims) have been included in calculations.

 

 Claims for harassment and/or bullying made by female employees were more than twice as high as the rate of these claims made by males over the three years 2015–16 to 2017–18 combined. Similarly, the rates for claims made by females relating to work pressure and exposure to workplace or occupational violence were more than twice that of similar claims made by males.

 

Figure 2. Frequency rates by sex and mental stress sub-category, 2015–16 to 2017–18p combined

 

Note: Data presented for mental stress are national figures but data for subcategories of mental stress exclude Victoria because its data are not coded to that level of detail.


 Occupations with a high risk of exposure to work-related harassment and/or workplace bullying include:

  • Other miscellaneous and administrative workers*(includes coding clerks, production assistants, proof readers, radio dispatchers & examination supervisors.
  • Other clerical and office support workers group** includes classified advertising clerks, meter readers & parking inspectors.
  • Other miscellaneous labourers.

Figure 3. Top 10 occupations with the highest frequency rates of work-related harassment and/or bullying, 2015–16 to 2017–18 combined.

*** Police in Western Australian are covered by a separate workers’ compensation scheme and not included in the data.

Notes:

  1. Industries are limited to those associated with more than 50 claims.
  2. Data presented for mental stress are national figures but data for subcategories of mental stress exclude Victoria because its data are not coded to that level of detail.

Industry groups with high rates of claims involving work-related harassment and/or workplace bullying include Public order and safety services; Civic, Professional and other interest group services; and Residential care services.

 

4. Top 10 industry groups with the highest frequency rates of work-related harassment and/or bullying, 2015–16 to 2017–18 combined

 

* Police in Western Australian are covered by a separate workers’ compensation scheme and not included in the data.

Notes:

  1. Industries are limited to those associated with more than 50 claims.
  2. Data presented for mental stress are national figures but data for subcategories of mental stress exclude Victoria because its data are not coded to that level of detail.

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Labour hire – what are your WHS obligations?

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When hiring labour, no one should assume that someone else is taking care of health and safety. Everyone in the chain is required to know who is doing what and work together  so risks are eliminated or minimised.

With major construction and infrastructure projects all over the country requiring large workforces, industry is increasingly turning to labour hire to fill the gaps in the workforce.
So what are your WHS obligations to labour hire workers?

Safe Work Australia has published a guide titled ‘Labour hire: duties of persons conducting a business or undertaking’ which provides information for all parties on complying with their health and safety duties for labour hire under the model Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws. This is for persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs), and those involved in the supply of workers (labour hire PCBUs) to work for another business or undertaking (host PCBUs).

Essentially, when hiring labour, no one should assume that someone else is taking care of health and safety. Everyone in the chain is required to know who is doing what and work together with other duty holders so risks are eliminated or minimised as far as is reasonably practicable. What is reasonably practicable will depend on the circumstances.

According to Safe Work Australia, before you engage labour hire workers to carry out work, PCBU’s should consider:

  • Providing the labour hire PCBU/s with detailed information about the nature of work to be carried out, including details of, and where possible supporting material, relating to:
    • The work environment/s
    • Tasks to be performed
    • Accommodation arrangements
    • Any known hazards or risks
    • Any plant or equipment to be used
    • Organisational and WHS arrangements, including supervision arrangements and any other organisations responsible for the worker during the arrangement
    • Health and safety risks associated with the work, and
    • Any skills, knowledge, licenses and qualifications required to safely undertake the work.
  • Verifying, in consultation with the labour hire PCBU, that the selected worker/s have any necessary qualifications, licences, skills and training to carry out the work safely. In limited circumstances, you may be required to verify the worker/s are medically fit to carry out the work (see regulations 168 and 417(3)(b) of the model WHS Regulations)
  • Discussing with the labour hire PCBU, arrangements for health monitoring and vaccinations
  • Consulting with the labour hire PCBU/s on WHS matters including information in relation to who will provide any necessary equipment such as personal protective equipment (PPE), and relevant points of contact for health and safety between the organisations
  • Ensuring that general health and safety information about the work, workplace and work environment has been provided to the worker/s. Check that you have provided this information in a way that is suitable, adequate and readily understandable for the worker/s
  • Eliminating or, if that is not reasonably practicable, minimising risks in the workplace
  • Establishing, in consultation with the labour hire PCBU/s, a review process for ensuring the ongoing WHS of workers, and
  • Any more you can do to ensure the health and safety of all your workers.

The guide also covers what PCBUs need to do while labour hire is engaged in the project, as well as the obligations of those of the PCBUs involved in the supply of workers.

Source: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/media-centre/news/new-guidance-labour-hire-available

 

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National Report on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

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>> Download The National Report on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

This report provides a high‑level summary of the reform journey in Australia’s mental health and suicide prevention systems since the National Mental Health Commission (the Commission) presented Contributing Lives, Thriving Communities – Report of the National Review of Mental Health Programmes and Services2 (the Review) to the Australian Government at the end of 2014.

Since the delivery of that report, Australia has been undergoing significant changes to services, programs and policies in mental health and suicide prevention, as well as in primary health care, disability, housing and social services. These changes have not only been at the national level, but also at the jurisdictional and local levels, through state and territory governments and many local initiatives. Acknowledging the considerable work being undertaken at all levels, this report focuses on the initiatives being announced and progressed at the national level.

Part 1 outlines the key recommendations of the Review, the Australian Government’s response, areas of subsequent progress and where further work is
needed.

Part 2 provides more detail about some of the issues in monitoring and reporting mental health and suicide prevention, and the Commission’s ongoing role and plans for further work in this area throughout 2017. This is supported by a snapshot of currently available data for selected indicators of mental health consumer and carer outcomes in Appendix A.

Part 3 sets out where our work the Commission be taking us during the implementation stage of the reforms.

This report is also supported by a compilation of personal stories and case studies from mental health consumers, carers and service providers.

Republished under Creative Commons www.mentalhealthcommission.gov.au


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