When you think of a workplace injury, the first thing which comes to mind is a physical injury either caused by a one-time accident or over a period of time caused by the repetitive motions of specific job duties. However, mental and psychological injuries happen all the time, especially stress.
Although some stress on the job is normal, excessive stress can disrupt work performance and productivity, negatively affect your physical and emotional health, and even impact your personal life and relationships with loved ones. According to a report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 40 percent of workers said their job was extremely stressful.
The following are the most common types of stress which occur on the job:
- Physical injury in combination with a mental injury – This situation occurs when a physical injury results in a psychological issue. For example, an employee sustains a serious injury at the workplace. After weeks and months, there haven’t been any significant signs of improvement, which causes the worker to feel discouraged and stressed, which eventually turns into depression. Thus, the physical injury leads to the mental one.
- A mental injury caused a physical injury – There are some cases where a worker experiences a mental issue after witnessing a catastrophic or fatal physical injury. For instance, a construction worker witnesses another employee get fatally crushed by falling debris, which leads to being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Direct metal injury – This situation occurs when a worker directly experiences mental stress caused by work conditions. For example, you are subject to bullying or harassment by your employer or coworkers, or the type of work you perform causes immense stress such as an air traffic controller.
Unfortunately, Georgia workers’ compensation laws do not currently recognize direct stress injuries or mental injuries derives from physical ones. In order to receive compensation for a mental injury, there needs to be a discernable physical injury. However, psychological claims are on the rise in recent years, so it might be only a matter of time before state law recognizes the agony stress causes to workers.