How Does Employee Stress Affect Workers’ Comp Claims?

The word is in and the studies agree: the whole country is stressed out.

For years, there’s been a trend of stress in the workplace—and it’s only getting worse. Some of the most cited causes of stress are long commutes, poor work-life balance, stagnant pay, and demanding workload.

For an employee, getting workers’ compensation benefits from stress is possible, although pretty difficult to prove. The employee has to show that their stress was caused by an exceptional event or circumstance at work that happened only to them. The ordinary day-to-day stresses of the job won’t be considered for payment.

Even though stress at work isn’t usually enough to warrant workers’ comp, there are still plenty of reasons to be alarmed by these recent studies. Stress can be a sign (or cause) of poor mental health, which may lead to carelessness and accidents in the workplace. Poor mental health has also been linked to poor physical health, meaning longer recovery times from illness or injury.

You want your employees to be happy and healthy so that they can continue to work and perform. But is there anything you can do to ease the stress? Here are a few recommendations:

Create an open and honest work environment. Stress often comes to when a person feels that their circumstances are out of their control. If employees feel as though they are appreciated, respected, and listened to, it can reduce a lot of the uncertainty that leads to a stressful job.  

Make compensation and work expectations fair. More and more, “work-life balance” is a phrase employers are using to attract talent to their organization. In a nutshell, this means having realistic expectations for hours and workplace productivity while paying a fair wage with room to advance.

Be supportive in the event of an injury. In the event of an injury, the last thing you want to do is make the employee feel stressed, as this only makes recovery time worse. Additionally, while stress alone is rarely a factor in workers’ compensation payments, it is often paired with a physical claim, which can also mean higher payouts for you. If a worker becomes injured, be careful to not give the impression that you are “fighting” the claim. Simply proceed according to protocol in a way that assists the employee in their recovery while protecting your company.

There’s no way to completely eliminate workplace stress. However, if you do your part to lift the burden of stress from employees, you’ll be rewarded with happier, more attentive workers in your facility.



Carrie Charity Murphy is a freelance writer for Insured Solutions and Improv comedienne based in Louisville, Kentucky. She lives with her husband Ben and their two dogs, Sprocket and Ms. Brisby.


Share This Post