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Public comment open on bullying code of practice

THIS week Safe Work Australia released its Preventing and Responding to Workplace Bullying Draft Code of Practice for public comment.

According to the draft code workplace bullying is repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety”.

Safe Work Australia gives the following examples of behaviours that could be considered to be workplace bullying:

  • abusive, insulting or offensive language or comments
  • unjustified criticism or complaints
  • continuously and deliberately excluding someone from workplace activities
  • withholding information that is vital for effective work performance
  • setting unreasonable timelines or constantly changing deadlines
  • setting tasks that are unreasonably below or beyond a person’s skill level
  • denying access to information, supervision, consultation or resources such that it has a detriment to the worker
  • spreading misinformation or malicious rumours
  • changing work arrangements, such as rosters and leave, to deliberately inconvenience a particular worker or workers


The draft document lists some of the affects to individuals include:

  •  distress, anxiety, panic attacks or sleep disturbance
  • physical illness, such as muscular tension, headaches and digestive problems
  • reduced work performance
  • loss of self-esteem and feelings of isolation
  • deteriorating relationships with colleagues, family and friends
  • depression
  • thoughts of suicide.

Some of the impacts to organisations Safe Work cite include:

  •  high staff turnover and associated recruitment and training costs
  • low morale and motivation
  •  increased absenteeism
  •  lost productivity
  • disruption to work when complex complaints are being investigated
  • costly workers’ compensation claims or legal action.


To prevent workplace bullying the document takes a risk management approach and lists ways to identify the hazard and control the risks.

Safe Work Australia code also includes a section on how to respond to workplace bullying and details how investigations should happen.


You can find the Draft Code of Practice below.


Public submissions close on Monday July 15.

Submissions can be typed and emailed to or posted to:

Safe Work Australia

Attn: Codes Public Comment

GPO Box 641 Canberra

ACT 2601  

A public comment submission cover sheet and the public comment response form can be found at

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