A spike in reported bullying incidents on mine sites in WA’s South West has prompted the launch of a government awareness program.
The Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) reported it had received three times the amount of bullying reports between 2011 and August 2013 than in the previous three years.
Aimed at the region’s 60 medium to large scale mines, the program would include DMP site visits to examine preventative systems, policies and procedures.
DMP Southwest Mines Safety team leader Tony Robertson said the program would provide assistance and information to companies to ensure they fulfilled duty of care. He said the safety and health of WA resources industry workers would remain the number one priority for the department.
“We know there is a potential for workers to suffer serious and long term health effects from bullying – something that is completely unacceptable,” Mr Robertson said.
“We firmly believe that raising awareness with proactive programs like this is the best way to reduce work related injuries and illnesses.”
Mr Robertson said while DMP could provide assistance, it was ultimately the industry’s responsibility to ensurebullying issues were resolved on site.
“In saying that though, if companies aren’t doing the right thing our inspectors have the power to take enforcement action regarding bullying,” he said.
“This can include issuing sites with improvement notices that force companies to demonstrate how they are remedying ineffective anti-bullying or preventative measures on site.”
Edith Cowan University associate professor Maryam Omari told WA Today in August that workplace bullying was a major concern and remained under-reported.
Ms Omari said the global financial downturn had “disturbingly” exacerbated workplace bullying.
“It’s really, really worrying because jobs are scarce and people have limited options so they put up with the [bullying] much more than otherwise,” she said.