Benefit to Include Chronic Mental Stress
The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has just issued the final version of its operational policy. Which includes recent amendments to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act to expand the scope of benefit entitlement for mental stress to include chronic mental stress. The policy came into effect Jan. 1, 2018.
These amendments come shortly after the WSIB recently made changes to their policy on pre-existing medical conditions. No longer cutting benefits for health conditions that pre-existed a workplace injury.
Chronic Mental Stress in the Workplace
Work-related chronic mental stress is defined as an appropriately diagnosed mental disorder that has been predominantly caused by a substantial work-related stressor or series of stressors. A work-related stressor is an action or task that is considered substantial if it is excessive in intensity and/or duration compared with the normal tension and strain experienced by people working in similar circumstances.
The expanded entitlement for mental stress means that all employers will need to take some additional steps to help reduce the amount of workplace stress and minimize the existence of current and substantial workplace stressors in order to limit costly stress-related lost time claims.
The policy states, “A worker will generally be entitled to benefits for chronic mental stress where: 1) there is an appropriate diagnosis; and 2) where the injury is caused by a substantial work-related stressor arising out of and in the course of employment.”
It’s estimated that workplace stress is costing employers about $300 billion annually, according to an infographic created by Eastern Kentucky University’s online Bachelor of Science in Occupational Safety program. With such an astronomical figure, it seems the right time for companies to invest fully into the health of their employees.