New advisory suggests better lighting, CCTV to reduce harassment at work

PHOTO: The New Paper

SINGAPORE - Improving the lighting, installing closed-circuit television (CCTV) systems and increasing the security presence at the workplace are some actions that can be taken to reduce workplace harassment.

These measures were outlined in a new advisory that serves as a practical guide to help both employers and employees prevent and manage workplace harassment.

Relased on Wednesday, Dec 23, the Tripartite Advisory of Managing Workplace Harassment strongly encouraged employers to develop a harassment prevention policy, provide information and training and implement reporting and response procedures.

Other recommended measures for employers to consider include displaying clear and prominent signs that promote respectful behaviour, display notifications to communicate that harassment is unacceptable behaviour, and controlling access to workplaces via access cards or keys.

"Employers should proactively identify, evaluate and control the risk of harassment from occurring in the workplace," the advisory emphasised.

Meanwhile, the group encouraged workers to keep a distance from people who exhibit unacceptable social behaviour, to familiarise themselves with workplace harassment-related procedures, to adopt a buddy system in situations where personal safety may be compromised, and to report potential cases promptly.

The Tripartite Advisory was jointly issued by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and the Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF). It follows the passage of the Protection from Harassment Act in Mar 2014.

The advisory was developed by a workgroup which comprised government stakeholders, unions, employers, human-resource professionals and subject matter experts. The workgroup also sought the views of non-governmental organisations such as the Association of Women for Action and Research (AWARE), Singapore Council of Women's Organisations (SCWO) and the Migrant Workers' Centre (MWC).

"Both employers and employees have an interest and respomsibility in preventing harassment at the workplace and managing it properly if it happens," the tripartite workgroup said.