Workplace violence in the retail industry

This page contains information and guidance to help you reduce the risk of work related violence in your retail premises

What you must do

You are required by law to carry out a risk assessment. The risk assessment will help you find out whether violence is a problem for your staff and your business, and how you can improve the situation. It will help you devise a policy and procedures for dealing with violence, as part of a wider health and safety policy for your business.

You have a legal duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of your employees, under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. This duty includes all forms of work-related violence, which HSE defines as: 'Any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work'. This means:

  • physical violence – including kicking, spitting, hitting or pushing, as well as more extreme violence with weapons;
  • verbal abuse – including shouting, swearing or insults, racial or sexual abuse; threats and intimidation.
  • Tackling the risk of violence is the same as dealing with any other possible cause of harm in the workplace, such as slips and trips and lifting heavy loads.

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Updated 2023-03-13