Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate the relative impact of workplace bullying and risk perception on the mental health among employees in safety critical organisations. The paper also aims to examine whether self‐esteem moderates the relationship between bullying and risk perception as stressors and mental health as an outcome variable. Design/methodology/approach: Employing a survey design, the variables were assessed in a cross‐sectional sample of 1,017 employees in the Norwegian offshore oil and gas industry. Findings: The results show that workplace bullying is a stronger predictor of mental health problems than is risk perception. Self‐esteem had a buffering effect on the relationship between risk perception and mental health problems, whereas no protective effect of self‐esteem was found with regard to the association between bullying and mental health. Originality/value: The findings have implications for how organisations may promote employee well‐being and health. It is suggested that organisations develop interventions that are aimed at reducing the occurrence of both.