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Bullying in the Workplace : Risk Management System

Risk Management System

In order to comply with legal requirements in the WHS Act you should already have a risk management system in your workplace that;

  • identifies risks to health and safety

  • assesses those risks

  • eliminates or controls those risks

  • monitors and reviews those risks

Bullying in the workplace is recognised as a risk to health and safety by the Fair Work Act and the WHS Act so you must include bullying as a hazard to be handled in your risk management system.

All businesses, regardless of size, have a duty under Section 19 of the Work Health and Safety (WHS) Act to provide a safe and healthy workplace.

Organisations should take an active approach to managing the risk of bullying in the workplace in order to;

  • eliminate or minimize the risk of workers being bullied

  • be in compliance with work health and safety legislation

  • avoid costly legal actions

  • avoid losing productivity

  • avoid getting embroiled in an investigation and penalties by your WHS regulator (WorkCover NSW for eg), or the Fair Work Commission.


Your risk management system must include consultation with Workers because consultation with workers is mandatory under WHS legislation.

So use your existing consultation arrangement such as HSRs and H&S Committee members to consult with people in your workplace:

  • when developing a Code of Workplace Behaviour

  • when developing, implementing and reviewing policy and procedures about bullying

  • during the identification, assessment and control of bullying risks in your workplace

  • when preparing information and training on prevention of bullying in the workplace

Train and Inform Managers, Supervisors and Workers about Bullying

Bullying in the workplace can only be handled effectively in your risk management system if all workers are trained in the following matters:

  • your organisation’s workplace bullying policy and procedure

  • ‬the expected standards of behaviour in your workplace

  • what bullying is, including examples

  • where to get advice and assistance within your organization about bullying

  • who Workers can go to within the organization to report bullying

  • your organisation’s system for responding to and managing a bullying complaint

In addition Managers and Supervisors should be trained in:

  • how to respond to workplace bullying allegations

  • how to develop productive and respectful workplace relationships

Those staff who are given the responsibility of investigating workplace bullying allegations should be trained in doing investigations.


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