Violence at work
Work-related violence is not just physical – it includes verbal abuse and threats. It is more common in those jobs where workers have face-to-face contact with the public.
When physical violence is involved, the injuries to those workers affected are obvious. However, those subjected to constant and repeated verbal abuse and threats may suffer stress, anxiety and depression.
Workers who interact directly with the public, particularly where money is involved or where age-restricted goods are sold, are more likely to face aggressive or violent behaviour.
What can I do if violence at work is an issue?
- Consider whether the layout of the work area adds to the problem:
- Is there a safe area to count cash?
- Are there areas where attacks could take place without being witnessed?
- Can entry be controlled and do you know who is in the workplace?
- Ask your employees whether they ever feel threatened and encourage them to report incidents. Keep detailed records, including those of verbal abuse and threats
- Try to predict what might happen – there may be a known pattern of violence linked to certain work situations
- Train your employees so they can spot the early signs of aggression and avoid it
- Consider physical security measures, eg CCTV or alarm systems and coded security locks
- Support victims, eg with debriefing or specialist counselling and time off work to recover
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