Editor's Note

Editor's Note: Stepping in to stop workplace bullying

Back in April of this year, Safety+Health published a news brief titled, Bosses who bully increase worker stress, study shows.

Many of you, after reading that, may think, “Well, of course.” But to anyone who has lived it, it’s nothing to take lightly. Two years into my first “real” job after college, I acquired a new supervisor. The term bullying wasn’t applied to the workplace as commonly as it is now, so all I knew was that, for reasons I did not know, this man went out of his way to make my life miserable. His own supervisor was aware of it but did nothing. Fortunately, just as it got to the point that I was arriving at work every day with a stomachache, someone who had left the company called me with a job opportunity, and I jumped at it.

This month, we’re reporting on another “bosses who bully” study – but this one concludes that bullying can have a negative effect on worker safety.

It’s one more reason why bullying in the workplace needs to be taken seriously.

When I informed my bully’s supervisor that I was resigning, he gave me a weak smile and said, “I know you two have had problems, but sometimes these things just happen.” Months later, he told one of my former co-workers, who told me, that he regretted not stepping in.

The years I’ve been part of the S+H team have taught me that one of the great qualities of safety pros is their ability – and willingness – to have difficult conversations.

My hope is that if you’re ever in a situation in which you have the opportunity to step in and stop a bully, you’ll rise to the challenge.

Melissa J. Ruminski The opinions expressed in “Editor’s Note” do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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