Bullying and harrassment


Violence and bullying in the workplaceDiscussion and disagreements form a regular part of workplace interactions, however when it becomes discourse or confrontation it can result in the deterioration in working relationships.

The International Labour Organisation 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.

The challenge that workplace violence, bullying or harassment provides has received significant attention over the last decade, on a scientific, economic and policy level. Its 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 the 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 activities

IOSH has published research into Unacceptable behaviour, health and wellbeing at work and further research is due for publication in January 2018 based in Ireland upon the Workplace Behaviour Survey.

We have also urged action in specific sectors where the incident rates are increasing action plan needed to tackle risk in attacks on prison officers.

Wider guidance

If you’re looking for general guidance on the topics of workplace violence, aggression, bullying and harassment, visit: