Bullying is becoming a serious problem in Europe’s
education sector – with students and parents usually the main culprits.
A report by the European Agency for Occupational Safety and
Health (EAOSH) said that 15 per cent of the 11 million employees in the sector
– from teachers and cooks to administrative staff – have suffered physical or
verbal abuse at work.
According to the report, employees also have to contend with
dangerous substances in laboratories, sports injuries, work-related stress and
slips on litter-strewn floors.
Each year, more than half a million staff in the sector have
to take time off due to work-related accidents and illness, accounting for 40
per cent of all absenteeism, with most staying away for more than six days on
In the UK,
the Unison union called on employers to develop strong prevention measures to
eliminate or reduce bullying and improve health and safety.
"Our members want to go to work without the fear of
injury or ill health caused by work, and we will continue our fight to ensure
their health and safety is at the top of the curriculum," said Hope Daley,
national health and safety officer at Unison.
EAOSH has issued best-practice advice to help staff in Europe’s
education sector minimise the risk of violence and other health hazards (http://europe.osha.eu.int/good_practice/sector/education/
Look out for the
results of our in-depth workplace bullying survey, carried out with the Andrea
Adams Trust, in the 28 September issue of Personnel Today