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Int J Law Psychiatry. 2010 Mar-Apr;33(2):101-15. doi: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2009.12.003. Epub 2010 Feb 1.

Work-related stress in Australia: The effects of legislative interventions and the cost of treatment.

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Curtin University of Technology, Western Australia, Australia.


The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data published in 2002 shows a continued rise in health care costs to the Australian community due to the growing number of people diagnosed with mental health disorders. Those mental health disorders may originate from a number of sources, including work and non-work-related factors. The so called work-related stress claims in all Australian jurisdictions are the most expensive form of workers compensation claim. In the most part this is due to the lengthy period of absence (duration) and complicated medical care which are characteristic of these claims. In Australia, in the last decade, attempts have been made to reduce the costs of compensable stress-related claims by imposing special legislative thresholds on such claims. This 'back end' approach to cost reduction has resulted in an array of legislative formula designed to exclude work-related stress claims. This article surveys the various legislative provisions dealing with work-related stress claims in Australia and provides an analysis of their effectiveness. A range of options are presented as alternatives to the exclusion of particular forms of work-related stress claims. The use of a corporate citizenship approach to the prevention and management of stress claims is also discussed as a proactive alternative to occupational safety and health legislative provisions and the workers compensation legislative exclusions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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