WorkSafe Tasmania

Notify WorkSafe Call 1300 366 322
Notify WorkSafe Call 1300 366 322

Prevent and manage bullying in your workplace

Bullying is a safety matter

Workplace bullying is a risk to work health and safety because it may affect the mental and physical health of individuals. Effects may include:

  • distress, anxiety, panic attacks, depression
  • physical illness: headaches, fatigue, digestive problems
  • negative impact on work performance, concentration, ability to make decisions
  • deteriorating relationships with colleagues, family, friends.

It can damage the reputation of your business and lead to:

  • high staff turnover, associated recruitment/training costs
  • increased absenteeism
  • lost productivity
  • costs for counselling, mediation and support
  • costs for workers compensation claims or legal action.

Managing bullying

You can and must prevent and manage workplace bullying like other workplace hazards, by:

  • identifying its presence or potential
  • putting control measures in place to prevent or manage it
  • putting planning, resources and systems in place: for example, policies, procedures, consultation and training.

Bullying and the laws

Failing to take steps to manage the risk of bullying can result in a breach of the work health and safety laws.

Under the work health and safety laws, if you’re a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) you must ensure the health and safety of your workers, including their physical and psychological health. This means taking reasonable steps to ensure the mental health of its workers.

You could face penalties under the laws if you fail to take steps to identify and prevent bullying in its workplace.

Take a risk management approach

Bullying should be managed in the same way you manage other hazards:

  • identifying its presence or potential
  • putting control measures in place to prevent or manage it
  • putting planning, resources and systems in place: for example, policies, procedures, consultation and training.

Our guide How to prevent and respond to workplace bullying (PDF, 928.2 KB) provides practical guidance to do this, including how to respond to reports of bullying. The guide has sample tools you can use.

Resources and solutions

WorkSafe resources

Aggressive Assistant Poster (PDF, 187.3 KB)

How to prevent and respond to workplace bullying (PDF, 928.2 KB)

Malicious Manager Poster (PDF, 232.4 KB)

Manager Competency Register (DOCX, 19.2 KB)

Notification of Bullying in your workplace behaviour (DOCX, 16.9 KB)

Sample Workplace Bullying Policy (DOC, 26.5 KB)

Other resources

Work-related psychological health and safety: A systematic approach to meeting your duties: Safe Work Australia (external link)

Updated: 29th October 2019