Mental stress and work health checks

Filed under: [Health & Safety]

It's common for many people to associate 'health and wellbeing' with only the physical sense, however it also applies to mental wellbeing too.

Just like physical health problems, mental health issues can also have an impact on businesses - potentially resulting in lower levels of corporate wellness, productivity and sometimes even high levels of compensation.

According to a report, titled 'Incidence of accepted workers' compensation claims for mental stress' from Safe Work Australia, psychological issues resulting in loss of productivity and absence of workers costs the Australian business sector over $10 billion per year.

The report examined information from workers' compensations claims during the periods 2008-09 and 2010-11.

Mental stress conditions were found to be the most expensive form of workers' compensation claims.

"The personal impact of mental stress on workers is a serious and detrimental issue [to] the worker and their families and also employers," stated Safe Work Australia chair Ann Sherry.

Ms Sherry noted that mental stress claims can result in employees taking extended absences, which leads to levels of productivity being affected.

The report showed that the most common people who suffered from mental stress were those in higher placed positions with responsibility for the safety of others - this includes paramedics, police officers and prison officers.

Women were also found to make up the majority of compensation claims, with work pressure being the main cause of mental stress for older workers.

"These findings highlight why it is necessary for employers to be aware of stress-related issues and improve current work practices to decrease unnecessary stress in the workplace," said Ms Sherry.

Signs of mental stress to look out for are increased absences, decreases in the quality of work, lower levels of energy, poor judgement, depression, procrastination, and moodiness.

If not properly managed, mental stress can also lead to physical symptoms too - such as aches and pains, nausea, chest pain, a rapid heartbeat, and susceptibility to sickness like colds or the flu.

In order to reduce the amount of workday absences taken by your employees, it's important to implement workplace health checks. This way, your staff have a safe and secure outlet where they can discuss mental stress issues with a medical professional on a regular basis.

Ford Health also provides executive health checks, which is a program specifically designed for those in leadership positions who are exposed to high-pressure working situations.

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