Quick guide to control measures
Through your risk assessment you may have identified a number of risks that need to be effectively managed, or you might just be interested to see what else you can do to control the risk of work-related violence. This quick guide will give you more information about a number of measures which other businesses have found useful and you may wish to consider.
We have separated the measures into the following key areas:
Many of these measures are not expensive, and often their benefits outweigh their costs. You might find that there is funding available to help you introduce some of these measures. If you are interested in possible funding sources, contact your local authority environmental health department or police crime prevention officer to find out if they are aware of any schemes you could access.
Measures often work best when used in combination. No single measure will usually be completely effective on its own and it is best to use measures that cover a variety of approaches, for example some that address the work environment, some that address working practices, and some that address training needs. However, it is also important to strike a balance between protecting your staff, and still creating a relaxing and friendly environment for both customers and staff. Remember, whilst aimed at preventing violence, a few customers may perceive some of your control measures as excessive or negative, and this may result in more aggressive and violent behaviour. You will need to address these points in order to prevent putting your employees at risk.
Your measures should be sensible and proportionate to the particular risks in your business. You need to think about:
- What are the risks to my staff and others?
- What measures or combination of measures will best address those risks?
- What is the level of risk and does it justify the cost of the additional or improved measures? Is it reasonably practicable?
- What other benefits do the measures have that may compensate for the costs? For example, CCTV images can be used as evidence by the police in criminal cases to reduce stock losses and act as a deterrent.
It is important to evaluate your measures once you have put them in place. Are they being used? Are they effective? If not, why not? Do staff know how to use your control measures? Ask them, they will be able to tell you what may work better. Also, think about what you are trying to achieve with your control measures. For example:
- The reduction of violent incidents or verbal abuse is important. How will you gauge this reduction?
- It is important to reduce the fear and perception of violence amongst staff and customers. Do you have any ways of quantifying this? What about turnover or sickness absence?
- The sharing of information or partnership working with other businesses or agencies can be important. How will you measure that success?
- Comparing yourself to other businesses of a similar nature can be helpful. How do your rate yourself?
- Communication with your staff is vital. Do you currently have a problem with reporting or recording incidents? This may give you a misleading indication of how effective your controls are.