According to a new survey report the level of psychosocial harm in Australian workplaces is “high and increasing,” strongly driven by a skills shortage and limited actions against such risks. The survey by the New South Wales government among 1,017 Australians revealed that 61% experienced bullying in the workplace in the past year, including 28% who said they suffer from it at least every month. A majority of those who experienced harassment said it was verbal (63%), while more than half said it was psychological (52%), such as getting impossible demands and unreasonable deadlines. Other forms of harassment reported include:
• Discrimination (26%)
• Sexual (25%)
• Physical (20%)
Almost two-thirds of respondents also said they feel drained by their work, while 16.3% said they were working on roles considered to be of poor psychosocial quality. Results indicate a high and increasing level of psychosocial harm in Australian workplaces. It mainly attributed the situation to the “increasing normalisation of chronic understaffing,” as well as the limited acknowledgement and limited action taken against bullying or harassment in workplaces. “The recent explosion of home and flexible working arrangements was also discussed as an important contributing factor, especially due to the increase of workers operating in isolated environments,” the report said.

Groups most vulnerable to psychosocial harm
By industry, healthcare workers felt “more exposed” to hazards, including harassment, sexual harassment, and bullying, than employees from other industries. “Almost one out of two healthcare workers experienced a form of harassment or bullying on a monthly basis, and there were indications that sexual harassment was also more prominent in this industry,” the report said. Overall, the groups that felt more vulnerable in the workplace and reported more frequent cases of harassment are women and diverse-identified workers including:
• Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) employees
• First Nations Australians
• Migrants
• Members of the LGBTQIA+
• Disabled workers
Employees may use this form to anonymously report issues of concern, such as workplace bullying, harassment, discrimination or other: