Violence & Aggression Check List
The Health and Safety Executive’s definition of work-related violence is:
‘Any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work’.
Verbal abuse and threats are the most common types of incident. Physical attacks are comparatively rare.
Who is at risk?
Employees whose job requires them to deal with the public can be at risk from violence. Most at risk are those who are engaged in:
- providing services
- cash transactions
- representing authority
Is it my concern?
Both employer and employees have an interest in reducing violence at work. For employers, violence can lead to poor morale and a poor image for the organisation, making it difficult to recruit and keep staff. It can also mean extra cost, with absenteeism, higher insurance premiums and compensation payments. For employees, violence can cause pain, distress and even disability or death. Physical attacks are obviously dangerous but serious or persistent verbal abuse or threats can also damage employees’ health through anxiety or stress.
What the law requires
There are five main pieces of health and safety law which are relevant to violence at work. These are:
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act)
Employers have a legal duty under this Act to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of their employees.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
Employers must assess the risks to employees and make arrangements for their health and safety by effective:
– monitoring and review
The risks covered should, where appropriate, include the need to protect employees from exposure to reasonably foreseeable violence.
The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR)
Employers must notify their enforcing authority in the event of an accident at work to any employee resulting in death, major injury or incapacity for normal work for three or more consecutive days. This includes any act of non-consensual physical violence done to a person at work.
Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 (a) and The Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996 (b)
Employers must inform, and consult with, employees in good time on matters relating to their health and safety. Employee representatives, either appointed by recognised trade unions under (a) or elected under (b) may make representations to their employer on matters affecting the health and safety of those they represent.
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