Managing risks

The model WHS laws require you to take care of the health and safety of your workers, including yourself, contractors, volunteers and other people like clients, customers and visitors at your workplace.

You must treat the risk of bullying just as you would any other workplace hazard. This means applying a risk management approach to eliminate or minimise risks so far as is reasonably practicable. 

The risk management process involves: 

  • identifying the hazards  

  • assessing the associated risks 

  • implementing control measures to eliminate or minimise risks, and 

  • regularly reviewing control measures to ensure they remain effective.  

You must do these things in consultation with your workers and any HSRs if you have them. 

The Guide for preventing and responding to workplace bullying has information about risks and how to identify, assess and control them. 

Identifying hazards 

To identify the potential for bullying, you need to gather information about the hazards in your workplace and assess the associated risk.  

To find out if it could happen at your workplace, you should: 

  • regularly consult workers and any HSRs and health and safety committees. This should include identifying if bullying is occurring or if there are hazards that are likely to increase the risk of workplace bullying—for some businesses conducting an anonymous survey may be useful 

  • seek feedback when workers leave the business, for example holding exit interviews 

  • seek regular feedback from managers, supervisors or other parties 

  • monitor incident reports, workers’ compensation claims, patterns of absenteeism, sick leave, staff turnover and records of grievances to establish regular patterns or sudden unexplained changes, and 

  • recognise changes in workplace relationships between workers, customers and managers. 

Controlling risks  

To manage health and safety risks you should: 

  • provide a safe physical and online work environment 

  • implement safe work systems and procedures 

  • have clear workplace policies, and 

  • provide workers with information, training and supervision 

Choosing the right control measures depends on your workplace.  

Talk to your workers, HSRs and health and safety committees, if you have them. 

The national Guide for preventing and responding to workplace bullying has information on practical steps you can take to control the risks.