WorkSafe cracking down on bullying

WorkSafe cracking down on bullying

WorkSafe Victoria has announced a new three-year program will be set in place to target workplace bullies, teach employers about abusive behaviour in the workplace and how to prevent it.

A series of workshops will be held across Victoria over the next three years that will aim to educate business owners about the signs of workplace bullying, as well as how to manage and prevent it. It will also equip employers with the right skills and know-how when it comes to mental health related injuries due to workplace bullying.

These workshops will also be accompanied by targeted inspections in local areas with a major focus on industries that have a high number of mental health injuries due to bullying. These visits will also give advice to those in charge when it comes to putting in place systems that will prevent and manage any bullying behaviour.

WorkSafe executive director of health and safety Marnie Williams says that allowing any bullying behaviour was a breach of workplace health and safety laws with prosecution often on the other end for employers.

A Geelong builder was the most recently convicted and fined after verbally, physically and psychologically abusing an 18 year-old apprentice.

“Of the 26,000 injury claims lodged with WorkSafe in 2016, more than 3100 were for mental injuries, and 1260 of those mentioned bullying as a cause,” says Marnie.

“The insidious nature of bullying means that often the damage is done long before an injured worker makes a WorkCover claim, which is why it is essential employers have prevention measures in place, and work with employees to identify unacceptable behaviour and deal with it immediately.”

Even though it should be glaringly obvious for any workplace, Marnie says that it should never be acceptable in any workplace, regardless of the work or the circumstances.

“Workplace bullying is characterised by persistent and repeated negative behaviour directed at an employee that creates a risk to health and safety,” Marnie says.

“WorkSafe is committed to helping employers and workers manage these types of risks, and to take action where it is appropriate to do so.”

The first Bullying Prevention Workshop will be held in Ballarat on 27 July. Others will be in Port Melbourne in September and Pakenham in November.

For more information, or to register, please visit www.worksafe.vic.gov.au/events

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