3. Violence

Lone working does not always mean a higher risk of violence, but it does make workers more vulnerable. The lack of nearby support makes it harder for them to prevent an incident.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) defines violence as 'any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work' – this includes verbal threats.

Some of the key workplace violence risks include:

  • late evening or early morning work, when fewer workers are around
  • lone workers, such as security staff, who have authority over customers and are enforcing rules
  • people affected by alcohol or drugs
  • carrying money or valuable equipment

Support and training

Put measures in place to support any worker who's experienced violence. Workers can play their part by identifying and reporting incidents.

Training in personal safety or violence prevention will help workers:

  • recognise situations where they feel at risk
  • use conflict resolution techniques or leave the workplace

Impact of violence and how to prevent it

The impact of violence can lead to physical injury and work-related stress, which may have serious and long-term effects on workers' physical and mental health.

Violence can also lead to high staff turnover, low productivity and damage to business reputation.

HSE's guidance on work-related violence includes advice and case studies on preventing violence towards lone workers.

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