Workers Battle Stress & Unsafe Workplaces, According To WHS Survey

Published August 12, 2019 (last updated July 22, 2020) -

A survey has found that almost four out of five working Australians have been injured or become ill as a result of their work, and that half of workers have also experienced trauma or distressing situations at work.

This is according to research of 26,000 people conducted by the Australian Council of Trade Unions in a work health and safety survey called ‘Work Shouldn’t Hurt’.

“We need a strong commitment from the Morrison Government and all states and territories to prevent all workplace deaths and end all forms of workplace injuries, including the increasing level of psychosocial injuries,” a statement from the ACTU said.

Other key findings from the Work Shouldn’t Hurt survey included a third (31%) of respondents said they had experienced violence after being assaulted, threatened, or abused by colleagues, customers or clients.

Over six out of ten of those surveyed reported experiencing poor mental health because their employer or workplace had failed to manage or address poor work conditions, but less than 10% of those who had such experiences made a workers’ compensation claim.

The Sydney Morning Herald, also covering this survey, reported a story of Dale Mills, a 63-year-old bank teller from New South Wales’ Central Coast. Mills left her job two years from retirement age because of a poor work culture.

“It started out as a good place to work, but over the years the company culture became totally toxic,” Mills told the SMH.

“Every morning there were meetings setting out unrealistic targets and every afternoon there were meetings asking us why we hadn’t met them.”

It was so bad, Mills says, that some people ate lunch in their cars to get some peace.

After experience heart problems, Mills felt she would be endangering her health returning to work.

“I left shortly before 25 years there, which would have enabled me to access more long service leave. If the environment was better I would have had no problems returning,” she said.

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