A new joint campaign urging the UK government to introduce a law to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace has been launched by an alliance of unions, women’s rights organisations and the Trades Union Congress (TUC).
An independent report into staff wellbeing at Amnesty International has called on the human rights champion to help managers improve their relational and communication skills, emotional intelligence and ability to manage conflict after the working environment was described as often “toxic”.
The government has identified three priorities, which it says will make the biggest impact on reducing harm, in its finalised strategy.The first is to better manage work-related health risks. The government estimates that deaths from work-related disease may be as many as ten times the number of deaths from acute injuries.
The report is based on survey responses from 7,887 doctors of all grades in the UK (including medical students). It shows that two in five (39%) believed there was a “problem” with bullying, harassment or undermining in their workplace. Of this group, 10% said they had often experienced such behaviour. Respondents cited pressure from heavy workloads as the most common cause of bullying, followed by a “top-down command and control leadership” and victims and witnesses being too afraid to speak out.
The Parliamentary Women and Equalities Committee has released a new report on the issue, in which it says it was “astonished to find that the HSE does not see tackling or investigating [sexual harassment at work] as part of its remit”. It also criticised employers for “ignoring” their responsibilities, and said it is time the government “put sexual harassment at the top of the agenda”.
Steven Connolly was erecting a two-lift scaffold on the front of a house in Kent for the installation of solar roof panels. On 19 August 2016 a HSE inspector drove past the site on her way to work when she observed Connolly working without a safety harness and with no advanced guardrails or scaffolders’ safe zone.When she instructed Connolly to work in accordance with NASC guidance SG4:15, he subjected her to a torrent of abuse.
Between July 2017 and September 2017 almost 3,500 incidents were recorded, ranging from physical and verbal abuse of road workers to motorists driving into coned-off work areas. Of these, 150 were serious and resulted in four road workers and two drivers being hurt.Highways England, the government body responsible for operating and maintaining England’s roads, said it received nearly 300 reports a week from workers who had been subjected to abuse. Its traffic officers who patrol the roads are the most common targets.