Data from the recent MATES In Construction report on Mental Health in the Construction Industry shows that suicide rates are elevated among construction workers. The report also reveals that there are a variety of stresses associated with construction work that are contributing to this, along with poor mental health in the industry. This affects everybody – from apprentices new to the trades through to seasoned veterans with decades under the belts – and it’s vital to work together towards a better future.
One of the biggest issues that needs to be tackled is bullying, and in this article we’ll take a closer look at what constitutes workplace bullying and how to deal with it.
It’s vital to know that you can go to other people for advice and support.
What are the signs of bullying in the trades
One of the most important steps in responding to bullying on a job site is simply understanding that it is not okay. It is okay to ask for help though, and if you are the victim of workplace bullying, it’s vital to know that you can go to other people for advice and support.
In some situations, it can be difficult to know whether or not certain behaviour constitutes workplace bullying. If you’re not sure, it’s worth considering the definition provided by SafeWork NSW. Simply put, the organisation defines bullying as: “Repeated and unreasonable behaviour directed towards a worker or a group of workers that creates a risk to health and safety.”
This might sound broad, but that’s because bullying can take many different forms. If you experience any behaviour that you think fits this definition, there are a few key steps that you should take.
- Refer to the procedures in place within your workplace about bullying. Your manager or supervisor will be able to tell you about these and offer additional guidance.
- Speak to the bully and explain to them that their behaviour is not acceptable if you feel comfortable doing so.
- Report any behaviour that you perceive as workplace bullying. Your direct supervisor or an HR representative are the best people to contact with a report on bullying.
Responding to bullying and harassment in the trades
Of course, you don’t have to be being bullied directly to see and respond to inappropriate behaviour on your job site. Even if you are not the person being bullied, you still have the ability and the obligation to do something about it. As tradies or apprentices, we’re all in the industry together, and it’s important to look out for one another and make the sector a safer and more welcoming place to work. If you see the signs of bullying, you can follow the exact same steps as somebody being bullied, by referring, speaking and reporting.
One of the best ways to provide additional support is through mentoring.
One of the most important aspects of dealing with bullying is making sure that everybody on a job site has somebody that they can speak to for advice. This can be a fellow employee, a manager or a designated person, but one of the best ways to provide additional support is through mentoring. That’s why NECA Education & Careers provides an Industry Careers Consultant to all of our apprentices and trainees. As mentors, these consultants are always happy to chat about everything from training and work to life in general.
If you’d like to find out more about NECA Education & Careers’ apprenticeships and traineeships, or speak to somebody about dealing with workplace bullying, contact our team today.