Most of the time we tend to think of workplace bullying injury as psychological. However, the reality is workplace bullying is often a combination of psychological and physical.
The research often lists the psychological impacts of workplace bullying. This includes the following:
- extreme anxiety
- obsessive thoughts
- cognitive confusion
- suicidal thoughts.
And the psychological injury list goes on.
I often hear people’s stories of the impact of workplace bullying. I remember one female employee telling me how the stress and anxiety meant her hair started to fall out. Another person told me how they collapsed while at work and was diagnosed with high blood pressure and heart palpitations.
These physical impacts can be added to with others including:
- increased minor infections due to reduced immune functioning
- skin problems
- cold sores
- stomach problems
- muscular skeletal problems
- self abuse, mutilation and suicide attempts.
And the physical list also goes on.
So is bullying injury psychological or physical?
The first truth is the bullying injury can be both. The reason it becomes both is due to the nature of workplace bullying that occurs over an extended period of time.
The second, and more important, truth is that it doesn’t really matter. They are an injured employee who requires help and support to bring them back to health.
What can you do to prevent or minimise the injury?
You can help the employee return to, or maintain their, health by assessing them for injury as soon as a claim of bullying has been made or you suspect they may have been bullied.
Within that assessment, you need to identify what are the behaviours that are placing them at risk and have those behaviours stopped.
Finally, you need to develop and implement a plan that supports them and keeps them safe at work, mitigating the injury risk.
This will benefit your business by reducing the risk of a Workcover or legal claim. That is a win-win approach to preventing workplace bullying injury.
Are you curious to learn more about our workplace bullying injury and risk assessment?
Read more here