New OHS resources on workplace bullying

The Australian Capital Territory has released a package of new OHS material on workplace bullying.  The package includes

  • “advice on responsibilities under the Work Safety Act 2008 with regard to bullying
  • a Checklist for Employers
  • Guidance on how to take a risk management approach to workplace bullying, as is required by the Work Safety Act 2008
  • Guidance on how to implement a complete Complaint Resolution process in respect of workplace bullying
  • two new training programs available from the Office of the Work Safety Commissioner – Workplace Bullying Awareness for workers and Prevention and Management of Workplace Bullying for more senior staff
  • Advice for workers on what bullying is and some options they might consider if they feel they have been subjected to workplace bullying
  • advice on Workcover’s role in respect of workplace bullying.”

The ACT Attorney-General, Simon Corbell, said, according to his media release

“Often the focus is on bullying in the schoolyard, however, bullying exists in many sectors of society and the workplace is definitely not immune… This program is essential to inform workers firstly about what bullying is, and what can be done to stop it.

“Everyone deserves to go to work in a safe and comfortable work environment, and bullying can cause emotional, economic and productivity problems both in the public and private sector.

“High levels of absenteeism and poor morale will have a dramatic affect on work practices, and I would encourage anyone who feels they are being bullied to access this wealth of information. This is something that can and should be prevented in every workplace.”

“Workplace bullying is unacceptable – anywhere, any time, any place. As well as our legal responsibilities, we have a moral duty to stand up to bullying.  This is a very preventable threat to health and safety.”

Considerable thought has gone into these guidances and it was particularly refreshing to see one guidance begin by listing what workplace action was NOT bullying.  This should cut down the propensity of every action at work that we do not like being labelled bullying.  Below are some of the “reasonable management actions”:

  • “counselling you because of concerns about work performance
  • allocating reasonable levels of work to you in keeping with others in the work area
  • applying harsh conditions that are in keeping with OHS standards, when these are applied to everyone else in the workplace
  • changing your roster in a reasonable way, even if you don’t like it
  • asking you for a medical certificate when you are off work sick
  • giving you critical feedback about your work when this is done in privacy and in a respectful manner
  • moving you to a different work area when this is in keeping with your duty statement and you are consulted prior to the move
  • being left out of meetings when they are not relevant to your work.”

The package and other relevant information is available HERE

2 thoughts on “New OHS resources on workplace bullying”

  1. Bullying is widespread in the workplace. Beating workplace bullying requires new laws, new procedures and drastic changes in management attitude and accountability. This requires the involvement and commitment of politicians and lawmakers. Individuals can help by canvassing their political representatives through petitions. This is made easy through the internet.

    If you are a UK citizen or resident, there are presently (Feb 2010) 2 live petitions against workplace bullying. The addresses are shown below. Click, sign and spread the word.
    http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/09Bullying/
    http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/Justice-Bullying/

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