Discussion and disagreements form a regular part of workplace interactions. However, when it becomes confrontation it can result in the deterioration of working relationships.
The International Labour Organization defines workplace violence as:
Any action, incident or behaviour that departs from reasonable conduct in which a person is assaulted, threatened, harmed, injured in the course of, or as a direct result of, his or her work.
Workplace violence, bullying or harassment pose a challenge that has received significant attention over the last decade, in scientific, economic and policy terms. It costs employers in terms of absenteeism, lower productivity and staff turnover. It costs workers in terms of the physical and emotional toll, and not only in high-risk occupations such as the police and emergency services, health and social care.
An occupational health and safety professional can contribute the trusted tools of hazard identification, assessment, control, monitoring and review to the management of the risks of violence, bullying and harassment.
IOSH has published research including Unacceptable behaviour, health and wellbeing at work and research from Ireland based on the Workplace Behaviour Survey.
We have also urged an action plan in specific sectors where the incident rates are increasing.
If you're looking for general guidance on the topics of workplace violence, aggression, bullying and harassment, visit:
- Work-Related Violence in the Health Sector Country Case Studies Research Instruments - Survey Quesionnaire - published jointly by the International Labour Organization, International Council of Nurses, World Health Organization and Public Services International
- The ILO training package SOLVE: Integrating Health Promotion into Workplace OSH Policies
- International Labour Organization - Violence at Work report
- USA National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health - Occupational Violence
- USA Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration - Workplace Violence Campaign
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety - Violence in the Workplace
- OSHWIKI Workplace Violence
- UK Health and Safety Executive - Work-related violence
- Fire Health and Safety Authority - Bullying at Work
- UK joint agencies publication - Preventing Workplace Harassment and Violence