Workers’ compensation stigma occurs when a worker seeking compensation is discriminated against or stereotyped. It’s important to have a comprehensive strategy involving education, awareness, and manager training to foster an open, supportive culture at your workplace.
You have a comprehensive strategy involving education, awareness, and manager training to foster an open, supportive culture at your workplace.
Everyone in your workplace, from workers to supervisors, plays a role in eliminating workers’ compensation stigma.
Why this is important
Workers’ compensation stigma occurs when a worker seeking compensation is discriminated against or stereotyped. It is common:
- One in three workers think they will be treated differently by people at work if they knew about their injury.
- One in five workers worry about stigma related to being on workers’ compensation.
Stigma can prevent injured or ill workers from making a claim or impact their recovery.
Stigma can be a barrier to early reporting or applying for compensation, may create delays in accessing treatment, and extend time to recover or time off work.
Stigma can lower morale and productivity in your business, leading to increased costs.
Implementing good work design and working to address stigma can reduce business costs, improve workplace safety, reduce the risk of physical and psychological injuries, and improve the return to work experience for workers.
- Check out Safe Work Australia for case studies, fact sheets, infographics, and communication resources to help you take action to reduce workers’ compensation stigma.
- Be aware of and take action to address behaviours that can lead to workers’ compensation stigma, including:
- poor workplace culture that discourages workers’ from raising issues, talking about mistakes, or seeking help
- bullying or harassment of or gossip about an injured worker, which may include isolating the worker or causing them to feel like a burden
- inflexible or adversarial organisational and injury management processes such as disadvantaging, demoting or terminating injured workers.
- Take practical steps to reduce workers’ compensation stigma in your workplace, including:
- Raise awareness about:
- how to report issues with a task or equipment at work
- how to report injuries, incidents and near misses
- workers’ compensation rights and responsibilities and support services.
- Consider what extra support or information is needed to support ‘at risk’ groups such as labour hire and culturally and linguistically diverse populations.
- Implement best practice policies and procedures for reporting and managing incidents and injuries based on current guidance materials:
- Establishing policies and procedures – includes templates and examples of health, safety, wellbeing and rehabilitation policies and procedures.
- Safe Work Australia’s Guide for preventing and responding to workplace bullying.
- Adopt a wider system view to look beyond an individual when an incident occurs.
- Undertake a psychosocial hazards risk assessment (PDF, 0.56 MB).
- Review the Managing the risk of psychosocial hazards at work code of practice to better understand how to identify, assess and control risks and respond to complaints and reports of psychosocial hazards.
- Build leadership capability for all people leaders. Developing a supportive, inclusive and mentally healthy workplace is the most efficient and cost-effective way to reduce stigma and other forms of discrimination.
- Raise awareness about:
- For tailored, free and independent support and advice to reduce workers’ compensation stigma in your business, register for Workplace Health and Safety Queensland’s IPaM program.