HSE tackles violence at work

Executive takes action as research reveals a gap in staff training in
dealing with work-related violence

Workers in England and Wales experienced 1.3 violent incidents in 1999,
according to Health and Safety Executive research.

But only 18 per cent received formal training in how to deal with violent or
threatening behaviour at work, it found.

Seventy-two per cent have received neither formal training nor informal
advice. In high-risk groups, training provision failed to exceed 50 per cent,
with the exception of security and protection services, where training rates
ran at 71 per cent.

Between 1997 and 1999, the number of incidents is estimated to have
increased by 5 per cent, – a statistically insignificant increase that appears
to reverse the 19 per cent fall in incidents seen between 1995 and 1997, said
the HSE.

Just under a fifth – 17 per cent – of workers who have some form of contact
with the public in their work said they were either very or fairly worried
about being threatened. And 14 per cent of those who have personal contact with
the public are worried about being assaulted.

Those in occupations at highest risk of violence – public transport workers,
nurses and teachers – said they are most concerned.

However, the risk of a worker being assaulted remains relatively low, with
2.5 per cent of working adults estimated to have been the victim of at least
one violent incident at work in 1999.

Some 1.2 per cent have been physically assaulted by a member of the public
while they were working, and 1.4 per cent have been threatened, it found.

HSE spokeswoman Ann Harrington said of The British Crime Survey findings,
"Acts of violence towards people trying to do a day’s work are
unacceptable. We recognise the need for effective action, and are working on a
three-year Health and Safety Commission partnership programme, designed to
reduce work-related violence by 10 per cent."


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