Work environment

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The way your premises are designed in terms of layout, security provision and the general environment can increase the risk of violence and crime happening to your staff.

You may also find that some of the controls in the working practices and training sections will help reduce the risks linked to job design.

What are the risks?

Premises design/layout

Poor location of cash tills and sales displays, blind spots, inappropriate counter design and poor layout can all decrease the visibility of your customers - this can make criminals feel more anonymous and less observed, increasing the likelihood they may commit crime or violence in your store.

Think carefully about how your store is laid out - can it be improved?

Visibility and lighting

If you are not able to easily see your customers and colleagues, spotting and deterring aggressive behaviour becomes more difficult, and staff can feel less safe, criminals can feel more secure.

If this is a risk for you or your staff, ensure your lighting is adequate. You should consider:

Surveillance and CCTV

If you are unable to see all areas of your premises, in person or using CCTV, it may provide more opportunity for potential offenders to commit crime or violence. In addition, without visual evidence of crimes, it can be difficult to identify and prosecute offenders.

Security devices

A lack of security devices such as alarms and locks can increase the risk of crime and work-related violence. However, even where security devicesĀ are used, other control measures will help to reduce the risk further:

Security personnel

Well-trained security personnel can reduce the risk of violence. You may wish to consider using security personnel. However:


This is a risk factor particularly relevant to licensed premises. Crowds of people, particularly under the influence of alcohol, can lead to aggression. This is because people's 'personal space' can be invaded, making them feel uncomfortable. Individuals may behave differently when they are in a group.

Consider how you control crowding at your premises:

Intoxicated customers

The presence of intoxicated customers or those using illegal drugs can increase the risk of aggression and violence at your premises.

For licensed premises, intoxicated customers may be common, you should consider whether your staff know how to handle difficult customers by:

Updated 2022-10-17