The HSE has defined work-related violence as:
“any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work.”
Workers who deal directly with clients or customers may face aggressive or violent behaviour including verbal abuse, threats of violence and physical attacks. Fortunately, physical attacks are comparatively rare.
Workers engaged in the following areas of work are most at risk of occupational violence:
- Giving a service
- Cash transactions
- Representing authority
Workplace violence can have negative effects for the victim but also for the employing organisation.
|For employees||For employers|
o Loss of confidence
The first stage of a programme for managing workplace violence is to determine whether there is a problem, and if there is to assess the level of risk.
This can be accomplished through discussions with staff and the introduction of systems for the reporting and recording of violent incidents.
If there is a problem appropriate control measures should be devised, introduced and monitored to assure effectiveness.
Control measures will usually involve a combination of measures to:
- Improve the working environment
- Designing the job to reduce risk
- Providing staff with appropriate information and training
Controls will vary depending on the areas of work. Some examples of effective control measures are given below.