14-05-12 Why should we protect our staff from violence in the workplace?
According to the UK Trades Union Congress, one in five people are attacked or abused at work each year. As well as disrupting many lives, this causes more than 3 million lost working days each year – a figure which is continually rising.
The Health and Safety Executive defines workplace violence as “any incident in which an employee is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their job”
Let’s consider this definition. It clearly highlights that it can relate to any incident ( no matter how big or small ) and anyone in the workplace (it does not specify a role ). It then outlines the 3 stages of aggressive natures (abuse, threats & assaults). Finally, it states in circumstances relating to their job - this is a very open statement. Imagine a scenario where a person who is verbally abused at work on a Thursday then when out socialising on a Saturday meets the aggressor again and some form of incident arises! This example still relates to the HSE statement and what they clearly class as related to workplace violence.
Victims from violence in the workplace may suffer physical injuries as well as psychological trauma and can need time off to recover, proving costly to their employer. There is also the cost to the NHS (estimated by the National Audit Office at £173m per year) and the benefits system. These figures may seem mere statistics however the reality is that they are increasing more and more on a yearly basis and that affects other vital services.
As you can imagine, the subject of Workplace Violence is vast and it doubles, triples and quadruples when we look at risk in specific sectors. However if you as a Director, Line Manager, Supervisor or team leader don’t acknowledge the risk it is you that will be liable if something happens.
More and more reports of workplace violence are being reported on a daily basis, and if you are unfortunate to be responsible for either not having a clear policy or failing to provide beneficial training it is more than likely you will be investigated.
Prevention is better than cure – spend time to risk assess your role or that of your staff and then put procedures in place not only to protect yourself but your staff.
If you would like help understanding violence in the workplace please contact us at Quell.
Want to find out more?