Standards will tackle bullying

Employers have been given a new resource to help them crack down on
work-related violence and aggression

The Health and Safety Commission has funded a series of National
Occupational Standards. These are designed to help employers draw up policies
to manage work-related violence better and provide a framework for managers and
staff to assess training needs.

Their launch comes as research has shown harassment and bullying in the
workplace now top the list of staff complaints.

According to the British Crime Survey there are 1.3 million incidents of
work-related violence a year, which can cause physical injury or lead to
stress, poor morale, high levels of absenteeism and staff turnover, and
recruitment problems.

The standards have been drawn up by the Employment National Training
Organisation and cover issues such as how to investigate a violent incident in
the workplace, developing procedures to control risks to health and safety and
making sure your actions contribute to a safe working environment.

They are part of the HSC’s three-year programme to cut incidents of violence
at work by 10 per cent by the end of next year.

Ann Harrington, of HSE’s health directorate, said: "Violence at work is
totally unacceptable and employers have a duty under health and safety law to
take action to tackle this problem, which has devastating consequences on the
victims, and real financial costs for their employers."

Research published in IRS Employment Review has shown a huge increase in
harassment and bullying claims.

While last year pay and grading issues were the most common complaint among
employees, this year 45 per cent cited harassment and bullying.

Discipline was the next most common complaint, on 27 per cent, with health
and safety at the bottom of the list on 2 per cent.

A new campaign to tackle harassment of NHS staff by patients was launched
today by Health Minister John Hutton. "New guidance published today will
ensure NHS managers and staff deal effectively with harassment, ending the
belief that it ‘goes with the job’," he said.

Copies of the standards can be bought online for £32.50 from the Employment
NTO at, or tel: 0116
251 9727.

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