Though they are harder to identify, stress-related claims are just as valid as physical injuries when it comes to workers compensation claims. If you are suffering from a work-related stress injury, you may be entitled to compensation through a Workcover claim. There are many factors that could cause a workplace stress injury claim, such as poor work relationships, a high demand job, poor support at work and a highly demanding job could all potentially affect your mental health in a negative way. If stress is high or prolonged at work, it can lead to psychological injury. 

Due to the increasing demand levels of jobs and work, stress-related claims are becoming increasingly common. Despite this increase in claims, it is still often more difficult to prove a stress-related work compensation claim than a physical injury one. However, this doesn’t mean that it is impossible. This blog will assess stress-related injuries and help you navigate the complicated world of workers compensation claims. If you want to read more in-depth about stress-related workers compensation claims, click here. 

What factors can lead to a workplace stress injury?

Workplace stress injuries generally have three factors of origin. These are organisational, environmental, and personal/specific characteristics. 

Use this guide to help you determine what factors could be affecting your workplace and stress levels. 

  • high work demands
  • having little control over your work
  • unsupportive supervisors and co-workers
  • lack of role clarity
  • poorly managed work relationships
  • poorly managed organisational or work procedure change
  • low levels of recognition and reward
  • organisational injustice.
  • noise
  • temperature and humidity
  • lighting
  • vibration
  • air quality.
Specific characteristics
  • a combination of challenging work
  • a supportive atmosphere
  • adequate resources.

Source: Safework NSW

Is a toxic workplace a reason to claim stress leave?

A toxic workplace is absolutely reason to claim stress leave. There are many types of matters that could be used in your claim that your work environment is toxic. These types include bullying, sexual harassment, racism, sexism, workplace violence, exposure to traumatic events, and a high level of work pressure. For a more cohesive list, please look at the table above. All reasons like this will support your claim for workers compensation. 

How do I make a workers compensation claim for stress-related injury? 

To be able to make a stress-related work claim, you must be able to present your stress as an injury. The amount of compensation you receive will vary on the situation; there are strict guidelines in place for a stress-related claim.

In any case, you should always:

  • Document and report the stress-related case to your employer;
  • Seek medical treatment;
  • Obtain a ‘Certificate of Capacity’ from your doctor;
  • Complete a workers’ compensation form
  • Submit the form to your employer and insurer.

There are conditions that could develop from workplace stress injuries. These impairments are each assessed on six different scales, all of which evaluate the area of functional impairment. These conditions can affect: 

  • Self-care and personal hygiene
  • Social and recreational activities
  • Travel
  • Social functioning
  • Concentration, persistence and pace
  • Employability. 

For full explanation and examples of the scales used, please refer to the SIRA NSW website.

What could your claim be worth?

If your workers compensation claim for a stress-related injury is successful, you could be entitled to weekly payments, medical-related expenses, as well as lump-sum payments. Weekly payments and medical-related expenses are available even if your injury has not fully stabilised. This means that even if your injury isn’t permanent, you could be entitled to these forms of compensation. For lump-sum payment benefits, your injury must be permanent. You also must meet a whole person impairment threshold which is set at 30% for psychological injuries. 

As with any claim, the amount of compensation entitled to depends on your own individual situation. For more information and to see how much your claim could be worth, please click here.