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UK: Health and Safety Agencies Denounce Workplace Bullying

Nov. 7 was Ban Bullying at Work Day, and the United Kingdom's Health and Safety Commission and Health and Safety Executive took the opportunity to condemn any form of harassment and bullying in the workplace.

Bullying is a form of organizational violence and, if not dealt with properly, is a potential source of work-related stress. To help tackle work-related stress, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched the Stress Management Standards and guidance in November 2004. The Management Standards apply to six aspects of working that research has shown as potential stressors: control, demands, support, relationships, role and change. The relationships standard covers bullying.

HSE currently is supporting approximately 80 organizations from sectors shown to have the highest incidence of illness attributed to work-related stress. These organizations are applying the Stress Management Standards process in their workplace. This work will provide case studies that will enable organizations to see how the Stress Management Standards help reduce stress in the workplace.

"We believe strongly that by working in partnership with other bodies, such as the Andrea Adams Trust, the TUC and other government departments, we can use the Stress Management Standards to work with and help organizations tackle the issue of workplace bullying in a positive way," said Chris Rowe, head of the Stress Programme Team at HSE.

Existing HSE guidance, "Real Solutions, Real People," includes practical examples of how organizations have approached work-related stress, including problems with relationships at work. The Stress Management Standards, guidance and tools are available from the HSE Web site at

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