US workplace bullying interview with Gary Namie

Ben Merens of Wisconsin Public Radio interviewed Gary Namie of the Bullying Institute on 26 May 2010 for 45 minutes on his At Issue radio program.  The interview is very timely as new “Healthy Workplace” legislation is being considered in the United States.

What was useful in this interview was that the discussion centred on workplace bullying and Namie summarised how this is substantially different from schoolyard bullying – a  significant difference which requires different methods of control.  Namie says that although bullying in childhood is significant, the impact on an adult of similar treatment may have longer lasting effects.

The broadcast, of course, applies to the US context principally but Namie has a long and strong international reputation in workplace bullying advice and deserves an audience.  Tellingly, Namie says that the comparison for workplace bullying is not schoolyard bullying but domestic violence.

In 2001, Namie provided me with a review copy the 2000 edition of The Bully At Work for the SafetyATWORK magazine.  The review is available HERE.

Kevin Jones

Australian roundtable podcast on workplace bullying

On 21 May 2010, Boardroom Radio (BRR) released a podcast on workplace bullying that includes opinions from some worthy speakers.

Andrew Douglas, Managing Director at Douglas LPT;

Wayne Blair, Fair Work Australia Commissioner;

Gail Hubble, Barrister; and

Anna Palmer, HR Consultant, at Provenio Consulting

Some of the questions are a little peculiar such as whether current generations are more “vulnerable” to bullying.  Speakers responded that there are more opportunities for bullying now due to new technologies Continue reading “Australian roundtable podcast on workplace bullying”

Looking for the causes of workplace harm can change one’s world view

The New York Times reported on 17 May 2010 that psychologists have started considering the causes of workplace stress.  About time!

The report says that

“Employees are unhappy about the design of their jobs, the health of their organizations and the quality of their managers..”

and that unhappy workers have a high risk of heart attacks and depression.

The article is principally an interview with the author of a new personnel management book that identifies that performance reviews are a generator of unhappiness and stress.  This concept has been circulating for some time and goes part way to making workplaces safer.

Job design, mentioned above, can be broadened to include how people are managed.  Personnel management and human resources (HR) are a crucial element of any business but the NYT article indicates a growing realisation that the foundations of this management, how jobs are designed, have generated some of the hazards that HR is now tasked to control. Continue reading “Looking for the causes of workplace harm can change one’s world view”

Harmonising bullying terminology extends well beyond OHS

In May 2010, Workplace Health & Safety Queensland uploaded a Workplace Harassment Assessment Tool.  The curious element to the information is that Queensland does not mention the word “bullying” even though the assessment criteria cover this hazard.

As Australia moves to harmonised legislation on workplace safety issues, the harmonisation of terminology is going to be important and probably subject to lively discussion.   Continue reading “Harmonising bullying terminology extends well beyond OHS”

All exposure standards must consider hours of work

The last sixty years’ of research into the effects of hours of work, shiftwork, associated workload, fatigue and affects on social life and families has produced many findings, but no general detailed agreements.  There are interesting debates about who and what to research, what methods to use, what to measure and how to interpret results.  In the meantime workers and managers continue to work in difficult circumstances that research suggests has an impact on hormone secretion patterns, and, for example, on cardiac health, gastrointestinal health and breast cancer.

Here are a number of specific statements about hours of work, fatigue and fitness for work.  Total agreement on these statements can’t be achieved but they would generally be supported.   Continue reading “All exposure standards must consider hours of work”

Professor Niki Ellis hits out at the state of OHS in Australia

“…OHS is not fit for the 21st century.  It is isolated, has a limited academic base and remit, uneven provision, lack of good quality data, a poor image and is perceived by many as the servant of the employer.”

Professor Niki Ellis speaks frankly about the OHS discipline in Australia.

Professor Niki Ellis recently was appointed the CEO of the Institute of Safety, Compensation and Recovery Research (ISCRR) after some time in the United Kingdom and a short period as the acting chair of the Safety Rehabilitation and Compensation Commission.  Prof Ellis provided a refreshing and confronting presentation to the 2009 Comcare Conference (pictured right) that SafetyAtWorkBlog attended. Continue reading “Professor Niki Ellis hits out at the state of OHS in Australia”

Compensation denied because police officers only saw the aftermath of fatal incident

In 2003, emergency responders attended a major rail incident at Waterfall in New South Wales, in which multiple passengers were injured and seven died.  According to a 14 April 2010 article in The Australian (page 7, not yet(?) available online):

“The officers [David Wicks and Philip Sheehan] were among the first at the scene of the crash that killed seven people, including the driver, who lost control of the train after he had a heart attack”.

Those officers have been denied compensation under the NSW Civil Liability Act because

“they did not witness the crash, only its aftermath.”

Both police officers had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and been medically discharged.

Their claim for compensation has now reached the High Court of Australia Continue reading “Compensation denied because police officers only saw the aftermath of fatal incident”

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