MENTAL HEALTH PILOT IN AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY
Each year, 7,200 Australians are compensated for work-related mental health conditions, equating to around six percent of workers’ compensation claims
WorkSafe Victoria’s WorkWell Mental Health Improvement Fund has supported the peak body of women in trades, Tradeswomen Australia, to pilot a project that explores how increasing diversity within workplaces drives improvements in mental health, wellbeing and reduces mental injury.
The Workplace Diversity Project is an industry-first program designed to improve the mental health and wellbeing of small and medium automotive businesses through diversity and inclusion. The project aims to create long term culture change by assessing the work-related factors that impact mental health.
Each year, 7,200 Australians are compensated for work-related mental health conditions, equating to around six percent of workers’ compensation claims, and approximately $543 million is paid in workers’ compensation for work-related mental health conditions.
During this period (2010-11 and 2014-15), one out of every 1,470 full-time employees claimed for a mental health condition every year, and:
• 41 percent of claims were caused by harassment, bullying or exposure to violence;
• 91 percent of claims were attributed to mental stress; and
• 60 percent of claims were awarded to workers aged 40 and over.
Managing Director of Tradeswomen Australia, Fiona McDonald, said work-related mental health conditions (also known as psychological injuries) have become a major concern in Australian workplaces due to the negative impact on individual employees, and the costs associated with the long periods away from work that are typical of these claims.
“The Workplace Diversity Project aims to support businesses to create environments that embrace diversity and inclusion through their recruitment, employee support, and workplace practices,” Fiona said.
Fiona said Tradeswomen Australia are working closely with key major industry bodies including the AMA Group, WPC Group, VACC, MEGT, G Force and the AAAA, and will be increasing engagement with small to large businesses during the project.
October’s edition of AAA Magazine will include further information on this project and an interview with Fiona.