Help is on its way

Federation is in the final stages of preparing a toolkit titled “Bullying: a Work Health and Safety Issue” to be sent to Federation committees to raise awareness of the risk of injury due to bullying in workplaces.

As part of an Annual Conference decision, this document will provide information to assist workplace committees to address the risk of injury in the workplace due to bullying.

The information will enable concerns of bullying to be raised as a work health and safety issue using procedures available under the Work Health and Safety Act.

The toolkit includes the following information: the definition of bullying used by Safe Work NSW and how it is applied by the Department of Education; behaviours that do not constitute bullying; the importance of risk minimisation; risk management processes that can be utilised in the workplace; and the importance of consultation in these processes.

The material includes information available from Safe Work NSW and the Department, which can be used to ensure that the risk of injury is minimised.

Information is also provided to Federation committees about where they may go to seek further assistance for identifying hazards, assessing risks, controlling those risks and reviewing control measures.

Bullying is a known work health and safety risk across all work areas. This is evidenced by the fact that the NSW Public Service Commission has developed a campaign which specifically deals with the issue, “Respect, Reflect, Reset”.

The latest figures obtained from the 2018 People Matter Survey indicate that 20 per cent of teachers in public schools report having been bullied at work in the past 12 months.

The combined public sector response for the same period was 18 per cent. The figures obtained for public school teachers has remained consistent in data obtained from this survey since 2016 and is comparable to the results from earlier surveys of Department of Education and Communities employees.

Bullying: a Work Health and Safety Issue was presented to Council on 3 November. An electronic version of the document will soon be made available to Federation Committees.

Sam Clay is Acting Deputy Secretary (Research/Industrial and Professional Support)