October is Bullying Prevention Month. While most media outlets focus on schools and children, bullying runs rampant in the workplace as well.
The Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), which works to raise awareness of the issue, says workers are targeted not because they are viewed as loners or weaklings. Instead, a worker, manager or supervisor might bully a fellow coworker because that person is viewed as a threat in their minds.
Who is considered a threat? WBI research discovered that targets are considered independent, more technically skilled than their bullies, better liked, more social, ethical, honest and non-confrontational.
In other words, those who contribute to a positive workplace culture typically are the ones who are often bullied.
In his session titled, “The Safety Professional’s Role in Preventing Workplace Bullying,” part of the Safety and Risk Management Track for the 2018 Safety Leadership Conference in Louisville on Nov.6-8, I. David Daniels will address this topic.
“Creating a safe workplace involves more than the prevention of slips, trips, falls and other physical injuries,” he said in a recent Q&A with EHS Today. “An environment where incivility, hazing, bullying, harassment and violence are present is a real and present threat to the safety of employees in a workplace setting. Safety professionals have an important role in preventing and responding to bullying, hazing, harassment and violence in the workplace. In fact, many of the same techniques that are used to prevent other safety hazards can be important in addressing what can escalate into workplace violence.”
I attended his session at the 2017 National Safety Congress in Indianapolis about preventing bullying, harassment and violence.
During the session, Daniels provided insight about how managers and supervisors should employ a number of prevention strategies to encourage a positive company culture that does not foster bullying, harassment or violence.
The methods Daniels spoke about include:
• Promoting sincere, open and timely communication among managers, employees, organizations.
• Offering support for professional development.
• Fostering a family-friendly work environment.
• Promoting quality of life (job satisfaction).
• Maintaining mechanisms for complaints and concerns and allow them to be expressed in a non-judgmental forum that includes timely feedback to initiators of bullying and harassment.
• Maintaining impartial and consistent discipline for employees who exhibit improper conduct and poor performance.
(EHS Today's 2018 Safety Leadership Conference and America’s Safest Companies Awards Program will take place Nov. 6-8 in Louisville, KY at the Hyatt Regency Louisville. This event is designed to share best leadership, risk management, compliance and safety practices with EHS professionals hoping to achieve world-class safety at their companies. The conference features 24 sessions across four performance tracks; Safety & Risk Management, Compliance, Construction and Safety Technology.)