The recent RTW Forum in Melbourne had one speaker who analysed the workers compensation data for mental health claims. Dr Shannon Gray was able to draw some clear statements on workplace mental health from Australia’s national claims data and provide clues on what the workplace safety profession needs to do to reduce psychological harm.
Gray and other speakers at the forum had access to a lot more data than has been available in the last few decades and they, rightly, continued to stress caution in analysis.
Last month a provider of Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) circulated a media statement about a new health and wellbeing model that
“captures the essence of the shift towards holistic health and wellbeing for employees.”
This sounds positive and given the increasing emphasis on the prevention of harm from occupational health and safety (OHS) regulators and the evolution of organisational culture, SafetyAtWorkBlog approached
In 2016, a survey of General Practitioners (GPs) conducted by Monash University identified that GPs frequently struggled with patients involved with workers compensation and that mental illnesses were particularly problematic.
In January 2018 Monash University, with the support of major institutions and safety
Occupational health and safety (OHS) policy makers are keen on making decisions based on evidence. But evidence seems hard to get, for many reasons.
Some people, including those in workplace relations and OHS, often fill the evidence gap with “anecdotal evidence”. Frequently people being interviewed are asked for evidence to substantiate their claims and respond that “anecdotally” there is a problem yet there is no sample size for this evidence, there is no clarity or definition of the incident or issue – it is simply “what I heard” or “what I’ve been told”. Using anecdotal evidence is okay as long as its inherent uncertainty is acknowledged and it is not used as a basis for substantial change.
On 12 December 2017, part of Australia’s screen and television industry held a forum in Sydney about sexual harassment in the sector and what could be done to reduce this workplace hazard. This initiative occurred a day before an open letter was published about sexual harassment in the music industry. There is a momentum for change on sexual harassment in the workplace, but it is at risk of resulting in a fragmented approach which will generate turf wars, confusion and, ultimately, ineffectiveness.