The Australian Work Health and Safety Strategy 2012 – 2022 has identified work-related mental disorders as a priority of focus.
Business leaders ask, ‘Why is it important for compassion fatigue to be included as a component of our risk management considerations’? The answer is, because compassion fatigue is a recognised occupational hazard, to those that are exposed to frequent trauma and suffering in their work. In this sense compassion fatigue becomes a serious Health Welfare and Safety (HWS) issue. Therefore, compassion fatigue comes at a considerable economic, cultural and individual cost.
Safe Work Australia statistics (2015), indicate that approximately one in five Australian workers is likely to be experiencing a mental health condition such as depression or anxiety at any given time. This is estimated to cost Australian workplaces $10.9 billion per year in absenteeism, presenteeism and compensation claims.
There is a strong business case for addressing compassion fatigue, burnout and workplace trauma. Safe Work Australia confirms “safe and healthy workers create a workplace which is productive, high performing, retains its staff and is perceived as an employer of choice.”