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Workplace bullying workshops

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WORKSAFE Victoria is stepping-up its campaign to stamp out workplace bullying with a series of information workshops being held across Victoria.

Sessions will be held at Preston, Horsham, Melbourne (CBD), Traralgon, Geelong and Ballarat. Details for March and April briefings at Swan Hill, Mulgrave and Bendigo are yet to be confirmed.

The anti-bullying workshops will provide practical information about what constitutes bullying and how to prevent it from occurring through the introduction of anti-bullying policies.

Bookings for the workshops can be made online at bullying_info@workcover.vic.gov.au.

WorkSafe's 'Prevention of Bullying and Violence in the Workplace' booklet will be available at the workshop. It is also available online at www.worksafe.vic.gov.au or by calling WorkSafe's advisory service on 1800 136 089.

"The personal and financial cost of bullying to the community is enormous," said WorkSafe's Executive Director, John Merritt.

"Despite increasing awareness of bullying as a serious workplace health and safety issue, the number of workplace injury insurance claims for harassment has steadily risen.

"The cost of these claims indicates only part of the impact of bullying. The average cost for medical and rehabilitation of someone making a bullying claim is more than $41,000 compared to $23,000 for physical injuries. The effects of bullying can last a lifetime.

"The broader community cost is measured in lost productivity and absenteeism, increased staff turnover and replacement costs. Some national estimates have put it at between $6 billion and $13 billion a year,” said Mr Merritt.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires employees and employers to ensure they identify and address workplace hazards that affect the psychological health of employees.

"Workplace bullying doesn't only affect the victim but also their family and workmates,” said Mr Merritt.

"As a community, we must do all we can to stamp out this destructive behaviour.”

A recent workplace bullying case highlights the financial costs to an employer and perpetrator. In a 2004 Ballarat case an employer was convicted and fined $50,000 for failing to protect employees from bullying. The employee who bullied his colleague was convicted and fined $10,000.

The 2006 bullying workshops include:

* Tuesday January 31, 2006

9:00am - 11:30am

Darebin Arts Centre, Cnr Bell St and St Georges Rd, Preston

* Tuesday February 7, 2006

9:00am - 11:30am

Westlander Motor Inn, Western Hwy, Horsham

* Tuesday February 21, 2006

9:00am - 11:30am

The Windsor, 103 Spring St, Melbourne

* Wednesday March 1, 2006

10:30am - 1:00pm

Quality Inn Latrobe Convention Centre, 5601 Princes Hwy, Traralgon

* Wednesday March 8, 2006

10:00am - 12:30am

Mercure Hotel, Cnr Gheringhap and Myers Sts, Geelong

* Wednesday March 15, 2006

10:00am - 12:30pm

Doherty's Ballarat Lodge, 613 Main Rd, Ballarat.

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