New crackdown on violence

HSC
launches violence in workplace campaign as public sector incidents reach an
unacceptable level

The
Health  and Safety Commission last month
launched a new crackdown on violence in the workplace.

Commission
chief executive Bill Callaghan promised guidance targeted at the high risk
sectors and research to build on existing knowledge and develop strategies.
There will be an awareness campaign, which started with a London conference to
launch the campaign.

Employees
most at risk are those dealing directly with the public, such as the police,
health and social care; retailing and hospitality and transport. "The
issue is one of increasing concern not only for employees, but also for
employers which have to deal with poor morale, staff turnover and recruitment problems
and absenteeism," the Commission announced at the launch.

At
the London conference, Callaghan warned that violence to staff from members of
the public is at an "unacceptable" level.

He
added, "While it may originate in circumstances outside the workplace,
there are steps that managers can take – and should under health and safety law
– to reduce the risk of violence."

An
analysis of the British Crime Survey, carried out by the Health & Safety
Executive and the Home Office last year, indicated there were 1.2 million
incidents of physical assaults and threats in the workplace in 1997 in England
and Wales.

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