World Day for Safety and Health at Work – 28 April 2020

There has been, in the recent years, a growing realisation and appreciation of the prevalence and the devastating effects of harassment in the workplace, both in South Africa and in international jurisdictions. This led the International Labour Organization (ILO) to adopt its first global convention to combat violence and harassment in the workplace.

As part of the 2020 World Day for Safety and Health at Work campaign, the ILO will produce a global report, highlighting how a comprehensive Occupational Health and Safety (OSH) framework at both national and workplace level could address violence and harassment in the world of work.

Violence and harassment in the world of work deprives people of their dignity, is incompatible with decent work, and a threat to equal opportunities and to safe, healthy, and productive working environments. It remains a widespread phenomenon, present in all countries and disregarding sectors, occupations and work arrangements.

Harassment is an incident that has happened to an individual at the workplace that is unwelcome, unwanted and has a destructive effect. Examples of harassment are:

  • bullying
  • spreading malicious rumours, or insulting someone
  • ridiculing or degrading someone - picking on them or setting them up to fail
  • exclusion or victimisation
  • unfair treatment, for example based on race, gender sexual orientation, pregnancy, age, disability, religion, HIV status, etc
  • overbearing supervision or other misuses of power or position
  • unwelcome sexual advances - touching, standing too close and displaying of offensive material
  • making threats or comments about job security without foundation
  • deliberately undermining a competent worker by overloading and constant criticism
  • preventing individuals progressing by intentionally blocking promotion or training opportunities

Harassment is not only unacceptable on moral grounds but may create problems for an organisation including:

  • violating human rights
  • poor morale and poor employee relations
  • it threatens the physical, psychological performance of employees
  • it often results in unexplained absenteeism, late coming and poor concentration at work
  • it creates a hostile intimidating and offensive work environment and it can lead to loss of productivity and often to workers resigning

Each individual should be treated with dignity and respect at work. Harassment of any kind is in no one’s interest and should not be tolerated at the workplace.

World Day of Safety and Health at Work Official PosterWorld Day of Safety and Health at Work Official Poster 2020 (436 KB)

World Day of Safety and Health at Work PosterWorld Day of Safety and Health at Work Poster 2020 (264 KB)

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