One in five employees experience violence at work: ILO

The International Labour Organisation has released a report emphasising the need to use frameworks that encourage collective action against violence at work.
By: | January 25, 2024

One in five employed people have experienced violence and harassment in the workplace, a new report from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has revealed.

The report, titled Preventing and addressing violence and harassment in the world of work through occupational safety and health measures, underscored the importance and need to use Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) frameworks to address the root causes of violence and harassment in the workplace and encourage collective action.

According to the ILO, OSH measures are key to building an inclusive, integrated and gender-responsive approach to preventing and eliminating violence and harassment in the world of work.

 “This issue can affect all types of workplaces and can also occur during commutes, work-related trips, events, digital communications, social activities and in home-based offices,” the report noted, noting that these frameworks can tackle root causes of violence and harassment by addressing underlying risks such as inadequate work organisation, factors related to specific tasks and working conditions that produce high-stress levels that in turn lead to violence and harassment.

In the 25 countries studied, about two-thirds of all legal provisions on workplace violence and harassment were contained in OSH legislation and regulations, the study found, further stating that the OSH policies were more detailed in outlining preventive strategies and defining the responsibilities of employers and workers compared to other regulatory approaches.

According to the report, practical tools, training programmes and guidelines tailored for enterprises and workplaces can help put violence and harassment policies into practice. These tools, ILO explained, can share the steps needed to implement interventions to tackle violence and harassment and help carry out complex tasks such as workplace risk assessments.

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The report is being issued as part of a research project, ‘Practical guidance and tools to prevent and address violence and harassment in the world of work: An OSH perspective,’ which is jointly funded by the European Commission and the ILO.