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Bullying-related claims blow out to $27k

The median direct cost of harassment and bullying-related mental stress workers’ comp claims is nearly $25,000 higher than the all-claims cost, according to Safe Work Australia’s fourth annual national statement on workplace bullying.

This is some $5000 more than the $20,000 discrepancy identified in the agency’s second annual statement.

According to the new report, the median direct cost for workplace harassment and bullying-related claims was $27,153 in 2014-15, compared to $2,598 for all accepted workers’ compensation claims.

The associated median time lost was 10.4 working weeks for bullying claims, compared to 0.8 working weeks for all accepted claims.

Bullying-related claims were the second most frequent mental stress-related claims in that period, with 1,575 claims across Australia, while the most frequent were work-pressure claims, with 1,710 claims, it says.

SWA published the first annual statement for identifying emerging trends in psychosocial health and bullying in Australian workplaces in 2014 , following a recommendation from a 2012 parliamentary inquiry into workplace bullying.

The new statement notes that the frequency rate of mental stress claims fell from 72.77 per 100 million hours worked in 2002-03, to 41.6 in 2015-16.

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It says that “while the rate for harassment and/or bullying claims has increased over that same period, it has been trending down since the peak in 2010-11”.

From 2010-11 to 2015-16, these claims decreased by 33 per cent, it says.

“The frequency rate of workers’ compensation claims for harassment and/or bullying made by female employees was almost three times higher than the rate of these claims made by males,” the statement says.

“Similarly, the rate of claims made by females relating to work pressure and exposure to workplace or occupational violence were more than twice the rate of similar claims made by males.”

The statement identifies the industries with the highest rates of workplace harassment and bullying claims as “public order and safety services”, with 48.4 claims per 100 million hours worker, followed by residential care services and local government administration.

If you are a victim of workplace bullying contact Sydney’s Leading Workers Compensation Lawyers today 1300 363 0130