ILO: Workplace Violence Increasing Worldwide
Workplace violence is increasing worldwide, reaching epidemic levels in some countries, according to a new publication by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
The global cost of workplace violence is enormous and costing untold millions of dollars in losses in other countries due to causes including absenteeism and sick leave, the study states.
The study also notes that professions once regarded as sheltered from workplace violence such as teaching, social services, library services and health care are being exposed to increasing acts of violence, in both developed and developing countries.
The study, Violence at work, Third edition, was conducted by Vittorio Di Martino, an
international expert on stress and workplace violence, and Duncan Chappell,
past president of the New South Wales Mental Health Review,
"Bullying, harassment, mobbing and allied behaviors can be just as damaging as outright physical violence," the authors state. "Today, the instability of many types of jobs places huge pressures on workplaces, and we're seeing more of these forms of violence."
In addition, the authors also address growing concerns about terrorism, calling it "one of the new faces of workplace violence -- contributing to the already-volatile mix of aggressive acts taking place on the job."
A 2000 survey of the then-15 member states of the European Union showed that
bullying, harassment and intimidation were widespread in the region. In
In developing countries, the most vulnerable workers include women, migrants
and children, according to the report. In
On a more positive note, the study cited improvements in
Growing awareness of the need to tackle workplace violence has spawned the development of new and effective prevention strategies, ILO states. The study highlights a number of "best practice" examples from local and national governments, enterprises and trade unions from around the world that have successfully implemented "zero tolerance" polices and violence-prevention training programs.
Several countries have now explicitly recognized violence in their national
occupational health and safety legislation.
The ILO also has adopted a number of fundamental conventions on worker protection and dignity at work. In 2004, the ILO Code of Practice, Workplace violence in services sectors and measures to combat this phenomenon, was published to address the extent and severity of workplace violence in various service sector industries. In addition, the ILO, along with partners at the International Council of Nurses, World Health Organization and Public Services International, have developed framework guidelines to combat workplace violence in the health sector.
For more information, contact ILO at http://www.ilo.org.