VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Changes to WorkSafe rules could cost companies more as people are now allowed to apply for compensation if they have a mental challenge from a buildup of workplace stress.

Christian Codrington with the BC Human Resources Management Association explains the changes to Bill 14, which came into effect July 1st.

“Previously, WorkSafe was only recognizing stress as a result of a particular incident, a critical incident,” he says.  “Now what [the province] has done is broadened that definition to say cumulative events over time can lead to a mental disorder, and then result in someone having to potentially be compensable.”

Codrington recommends employers audit their workplaces to guard against bullying and harassment to save workers’ mental grief.

“And employers also need to take precautions to ensure that they’re doing a critical audit, if you will, of some of the workplace stressors, otherwise known as a risk assessment,” Codrington says, “to see [if]…employees are in danger of abnormally high levels of work-related stress.”

“Employers should be aware that while employees diagnosed with mental disorders have an additional source of support or if necessary, recourse, this is likely a result in an uptick in claims at WorkSafe BC,” he states in a release.  “Should that occur, it’s not unreasonable to expect that a spike in claims could translate into higher premiums overall, unless employers choose to act now to be proactive and reduce workplace stress.”