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Work Health and Safety Blog

There's so much happening in the world of health & safety. Changes in legislation and requirements, changes in best practice, changes in ... you name it. Here's my take on making it simple. Simply Genius WHS - stop guessing... manage with confidence.

Talk with your workers about bullying - before it's too late

Maralyn Kastel - Friday, August 23, 2013

Employers are facing new regulations with the upcoming changes to the Fair Work Act, which will take effect on January 1, 2014. Among the situations covered by the changes to the FWA is an aspect of the workplace that many employers may not be addressing effectively - bullying.

Employers will need to be more aware of the psychological welfare of their workers and safeguard against any kind of bullying in the workplace. Once a claim of bullying has been made, particularly if it is made against the employer, it will be up to the employer to disprove it.  In other words guilty until you can provide evidence of innocence.

Reasonable management of a worker's performance conducted in a reasonable manner is not bullying. However if subject to a claim you'll need to prove that your actions were reasonable.

Bullying can take many forms, including discrimination in the workplace because of the worker's race, age, gender or sexual preference.

Bullying in the workplace doesn't affect just the target of the bullying. It can result in absenteeism, loss of productivity and take a toll on the morale of all workers who are aware of the situation.

As with any problem, prevention is worth a pound of cure. You can help safeguard the workplace against bullying by developing a policy with a set of standard procedures that is clearly communicated to all workers. You can discuss this sensitive topic with regular toolbox talks.

Your anti-bullying policy needs to set the standard of behaviour for all workers, clearly stating the consequences of non-compliance with the policy and set out the procedures for reporting instances of bullying. 

Our "toolbox talk" factsheets on bullying will help you convey the important information in a succinct way to your workers and help you keep the workplace safe both physically and psychologically for all workers.

For more information on how we can help you manage your workplace safety, maintain compliance and address any safety issues contact us.

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