1 !!! A TRIAD OF PERSPECTIVES ON PSYCHOLOGICAL INJURIES! IN THE WORKPLACE!! Rebecca T Michalak, Principal Consultant, PsychSafe Pty Ltd! Stephen Hughes, Special Counsel, Carter Newell Lawyers! Beverley Kirk, Director, Centre for Emotional Intelligence Wellness Network for Law National Forum I 6 7 February, 2014 I Brisbane Rebecca Michalak I Principal Consultant I PsychSafe Pty. Ltd.
2 A LONG TIME AGO, IN A LAND FAR, FAR AWAY..
3 BRODIE RAE CONSTANCE PANLOCK RIP 23 September 2006, aged 19 Brodie s Law (an1- bullying legisla1on: stalking ) assented in June, 2011
4 PSYCHOLOGICAL INJURIES MENTAL STRESS: The adverse reaction experienced by workers when workplace demands and responsibilities are greater than the worker can comfortably manage or are beyond the workers capabilities. Mechanism of injury / disease MENTAL DISORDERS: (nature of injury / disease) classified as an occupational disease: all employment related diseases which result from repeated or long-term exposure to an agent(s) or event(s) or which are the result of a single traumatic event where there was a long latency period. Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy : Mental disorders a national priority area based on the severity of consequences for workers, the number of workers estimated to be affected, and the existence of known prevention options.
5 OSH LEGISLATION Division 2: Section 19 - Primary duty of care 1. A person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of (a) workers engaged, or caused to be engaged by the person; and (b) workers whose activities in carrying out work are influenced or directed by the person; while the workers are at work in the business or undertaking. 2. A person conducting a business or undertaking must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that the health and safety of other persons is not put at risk from work carried out as part of the conduct of the business or undertaking. (Work Health and Safety Act 2011, current as at 1 January, 2014) Equal Employment Opportunity Anti-Discrimination Contractors and Subcontractors Various Industrial Relations Acts / Laws Common Law
6 WORKER / WORKPLACE NEXUS Job Content Job Context Individual differences
7 MENTAL DISORDER CLAIM NUMBERS 6% of all claims are serious (fatality, permanent incapacity, or temporary incapacity requiring absence from work for one week or more) Of 18,270 serious claims for diseases, most (40%) were for mental stress Almost 98% of mental stress claims were for mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, nervous breakdowns, phobias, and obsessive compulsive symptoms.
8 MENTAL DISORDER CLAIM TRENDS (CONT.) Median time lost 26% from weeks since Now rates as second longest time off work of any injury or disease Highest is for vertebral fractures (16.6 weeks) Highest median disease payment over to period Claim no s up 11%, against nature of injury / disease average of -8% vs. Claims for mental disorders per million employees has dropped since peak of and now at lowest level since , BUT Changes in legislation in April 2007 to causal connection test Longest median time lost, more than 3 x s overall median
9 QLD MENTAL INCAPACITY CLAIM TRENDS Psychological and psychiatric injuries (PPI): Of a total of 99,208 claims made under scheme, 4,608 were PPI Only injury type where females were represented more than males Females 58.3% of claims Average decision making time 26.1 versus average of 6.4 days Majority of claims are rejected (62.2%) Statutory claim payments of $52.6 million PPI account for only 2.6% of all claims finalised, BUT They are the most expensive with an average finalised time lost claim cost of $40,742 (average of all injuries is $13,933) Average duration was days cf. the overall scheme average of 42.6 days.
10 QLD MENTAL INCAPACITY CLAIM TRENDS RTW: Fit for work (same job/tasks with same employer): 72.5% (psych only) and 62.3% (psych plus physical: P+P) compared to 94.4% for physical injuries Over 14% P+P not fit for work at end of claim compared to 8.2% (psych only) and 0.7% for physical only Secondary injuries? (e.g. Musculoskeletal / RSI injuries: P+P) PPI claims represented only 4.6% of statutory claim lodgements, BUT 8.1% of all common law claim lodgements
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18 A TIERED APPROACH TO RISK MANAGEMENT Primary Prevention Aims to identify and remove / reduce risks prior to them leading to symptoms / problems Secondary Prevention Also called rescue management, this is an early intervention approach applied as soon as an issue has been identified to attempt to minimise negative consequences, as well as avert any catastrophe that a failure to act might lead to Tertiary Prevention Aimed at ending or resolving the problem situation, and effectively dealing with (i.e. fully resolving) its negative effects
19 Thank you (Please note down questions for the Open Forum) *Contact me for full citations for figures and statistics* Facebook: See also (lawyer specific training programs)