What can you do to minimise the threat of violence and aggression in the workplace?
Posted by Tracy Seward
What are violence and aggression?
It is unacceptable behaviour by one or more individuals and it can take different forms.
Harassment – This includes: repeated or persistent humiliating comments or abuse about appearance, performance or status, sexual harassment or other unwanted advances or behaviour including racial.
Abusive Language – This includes: Shouting, swearing or insults of a sexual or racial nature.
Threatening Behaviour – From customers directly to you or someone else
Physical Violence – This includes: Physical attacks including a slap, kicking, punching, pitting or shoving as well as more extreme violence
Violence and aggression in work is a growing problem. In 2006/07 British Crime Survey (BCS) reported 685,000 incidents, 288,000 assaults and 397,000 threats of violence. 1 in 10 employees with face-to-face contact with the public thought it very likely or fairly likely that they would be assaulted.
With a duty to minimise risk to employees, what can be done by an employer?
Firstly, a risk assessment should be undertaken to assess the risk to employees and identify who is at risk.
Where there is a significant risk there are basic steps that can be taken to effectively manage it.
A policy should be devised setting out how violence and aggression are to be managed, including reporting, escalating, prevention and aftercare.
Training should be given to employees covering the policy, communication skills, exit strategies so that employees can remove themselves from a situation, identifying flashpoints and reducing trigger points.
Incident investigation to identify measures to prevent repeat incidents. Reviewing the risk assessment and counselling of employees after a significant incident.