5. Reporting and learning from incidents

If your workers experience work-related violence you should:

  • provide them with suitable support
  • record and report incidents
  • review incidents and check whether further controls or actions are needed

What you must report

Employers, certain self-employed people and those in control of work premises must report certain workplace injuries, dangerous occurrences and occupational diseases to HSE under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR).

You must report any act of work-related violence that results in:

  • death
  • a specified injury
  • a physical injury to a worker that means they are unable to carry out their normal duties for more than 7 days

You do not need to report but you must keep a record of any work-related injuries that result in a worker being unable to carry out their normal duties for more than 3 days.

RIDDOR only requires you to report accidents that arise 'out of or in connection with work'. The work activity itself must lead to the accident.

For example, an injury would not be reportable if it involves:

  • one worker injuring another during a personal dispute
  • a worker being injured by a relative or friend who visits them at work about a domestic matter

Informing the police

In addition to reporting incidents to HSE, you or your workers may also want to report instances of violence or intimidation to the police. To do this, you can use the local police force online reporting system, or you can call 101.

Recording violent incidents

It is important to record incidents that your workers experience, This will help you:

  • investigate incidents to build a true picture of the risks and triggers for violence and review whether your control measures are working
  • show your workers that you take violence seriously

There are many reasons why workers do not report violence or aggression. These include:

  • believing it is just part of the job
  • fearing they will be blamed for the incident
  • not knowing how to report and record incidents
  • reporting and recording procedures are time-consuming, too complicated or difficult to use
  • believing nothing will be done about it
  • thinking the reputation of the business may be damaged

You can overcome this by developing a recording system that is quick and easy to use, promoting its use among workers, and demonstrating that you will act on the findings.

How to record incidents

If you have an accident book you can make a record in that.

You can create a simple report form for incidents and make these forms easy for workers to use.

For example, you could provide alternative formats such as paper form, online or mobile applications to allow all workers to report incidents as soon as possible.

A brief note of what happened, when, and who was involved should be enough to get your worker started, particularly in the case of verbal abuse.

You can buy HSE’s accident book to help you record incidents.

Providing support for your workers

There can be a significant impact on workers who are directly involved and those who witness an incident. It can affect workers’ mental and physical health.

Here are some key points to consider:

  • victims will react in different ways − consider changing a person’s job role or working conditions if they are particularly affected by the incident
  • sensitive and appropriate support will reduce the victim’s suffering, for example offer them a chance to talk openly about the incident as soon as possible
  • you can offer confidential counselling if your organisation provides this, or give them the details of local counselling services, or charities such as Victim Support
  • make sure the workers dealing with post-incident situations are fully trained and know how to support their colleagues

Violence and aggression can lead to workers experiencing stress. There is advice on protecting workers from stress and mental health conditions.

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