As violence in the workplace escalates employers are being urged to improve
their risk assessment and reporting of incidents.
A Home Office report released last week shows that in 1999 there were almost
1.3 million incidents of violence at work in England and Wales – an increase of
around 5 per cent between 1997 and 1999.
Elizabeth Gibby, head of the psychosocial issues policy unit at the Health
and Safety Executive, claimed that businesses have to carry out risk
assessments and draw up an action plan to reduce violence.
An effective reporting system is also vital for employers to identify
whether implemented measures are proving effective.
"Managing work-related violence is like any other health and safety
issue. Employers can use the same principles," she said.
The report, Violence at Work: New Findings from the 2000 British Crime
Survey, shows that 72 per cent of employees had not received any formal
training or informal advice about how to deal with violent or threatening
Even among high-risk groups, such as health professionals and public
transport, no more than half had been trained, except for security and
protective services where 71 per cent had received training.
Gibby said employees need training and information so they know how to
diffuse a situation. But she added that training is only one of a range of
measures that employers should take to try and eliminate risks to employees.
Businesses should examine job roles and ensure that people are not isolated
The British Crime Survey estimates that 2.5 per cent of working adults
suffered violence at work in 1999.