TAS: Mental Stress a Headache for Tasmanian Workplaces

Source: OHS News

Mental stress has been identified as one of the primary causes of workplace injuries in Tasmania, a State official reveals.

David O'Byrne, Tasmania's Minister for Workplace Relations, said that of the 9,273 injuries reported in 2009, 372 were caused by mental stress.

"On a national level, statistics show that more than three million people in Australia experience depression, anxiety or related alcohol and drug problems each year," Mr O'Byrne said.

"Each year, undiagnosed depression in the workplace costs $4.3 billion in lost productivity.

"Every employee with depression will, on average, take three to four days off work per month which is equivalent to over six million days lost each year in Australia.

According to Mr O'Byrne, WorkCover Tasmania had coordinated with University of Tasmania in 2008 for a unique research project that takes a close look at mental health in small to medium enterprises.

"This Business in Mind project recently released an innovative DVD and resource kit to assist small and medium business owners and managers to recognise the signs and symptoms of depression and anxiety, and manage mental health in the workplace."

Minister O'Byrne said mental and physical health and wellbeing was also an important focus for Safe Work Tasmania Week, which runs from October 24-30.

"During the Week, Beyondblue is hosting a workshop focusing on opening our eyes to the most common mental health problems in the workplace, while the Premiers Physical Activity Council is hosting a full day workplace health and wellbeing forum," Minister O'Byrne said.

"Safe Work Tasmania Week aims to place the spotlight firmly on workplace health and safety.

"It also presents the perfect opportunity for employers and workers to make a specific effort to talk about safety and what is and isn't working in their workplace.

"In addition to workplace health and wellbeing, other events being held during the Week cover a range of topics, as diverse as dealing with bullying and harassment in the workplace, sun safety for outdoor workers, the value of humour in the workplace, electrical safety for new and young workers, and asbestos-related injury and disease."