Step 2: Decide who might be harmed and how
When we asked a number of people who worked in pubs/clubs about where violence was more likely to occur, they said:
- Entrances were 'hot spots' for violence.
- Clubs were more at risk because customers have been drinking for longer by the time they get to a club.
When we asked them about what types of violence they experience, they mentioned:
- verbal abuse (this is common);
- physical assaults, including use of weapons;
- racial discrimination.
When we asked a number of people who worked in shops about where violence was more likely to occur, they said:
- pharmacies and phone shops;
- they were also more at risk at opening and closing or when dealing with returned items.
When we asked them about what types of violence they experience, they identified:
- verbal abuse (this is common and appears to have increased over the last few years). Some staff saw this as 'part of the job';
- physical assaults, including use of weapons.
Who is at risk?
You need to identify which groups of people in your business could be harmed by physical assaults, threats, intimidation or verbal abuse. Think about all the individuals you have in your workplace at any time. This may include people who do not have regular shifts or work patterns - for example maintenance staff, security staff and other contractors. You must also consider customers, guests and members of the public.
Certain people may be more at risk of experiencing work-related violence:
- Young workers and trainees may be more at risk because they have had less training on how to deal with angry customers, robbery and sexual harassment. They may also have more difficulty recognising dangerous situations through lack of experience.
- Temporary workers may be more at risk because they may have received less training or information on work-related violence than permanent staff.
- Night/shift workers, including late evening workers, can be at greater risk as more violent incidents occur at night time. Also, certain days of the week or certain times are more hazardous, for example opening and closing times are particularly risky times. Key holders can feel particularly vulnerable and delivery of goods is a heightened risk time.
- Lone workers can be at greater risk as they do not have the support of colleagues who can act as a deterrent to a potential assailant or provide immediate help and support if there is a problem. Also, if there is a violent incident and the member of staff is injured, it may take longer for help to arrive. Therefore lone workers need particular consideration in terms of training and supervision etc.
For these groups of staff you may need to consider additional control measures.
Again, you should talk to staff about the situations where they feel threatened, as well as situations that might pose a risk, even if they do not cause concern to staff at the moment.
You also need to think how work-related violence can cause harm. For example, what are the likely effects of violence on different groups of people?
You now need to go onto Step 3: Evaluate the risks and decide on precautions