Who is at risk of violence at work?

Everybody who works with members of the public is at risk of violence, but there is strong evidence (Standing & Nicolini, 1997*) which shows that the highest risks of violence at work are associated with:

  • Dealing with the public
  • Providing care or advice
  • Working with confused older people
  • Working with those who have mental health problems
  • Alcohol or drug misuse
  • Working alone
  • Handling valuables or medication
  • Working with people who are under stress

* Standing H & Nicolini D (1997) Review of Workplace Related Violence, Tavistock Institute. HSE Books.

Who is most at risk?

Employees most at risk are likely to be those who:

  • Aren’t aware they are at risk and unprepared
  • Haven’t been trained in inter personal skills/personal safety
  • Are so overburdened with work that they can’t always give clients their full attention
  • Have been victimised/assaulted before
  • Work with others who have been assaulted previously at work
  • Believe they have no option but to tolerate unsafe working conditions and don’t know their Rights
  • Know they are at risk and understand – but are unwilling to assert their Employment Rights

And, particularly, if they are working for an employer that:

  • Isn’t committed to reducing the potential for violence to happen
  • Hasn’t assigned a senior manager to be responsible/accountable for ensuring adequate standards of protection against violence
  • Doesn’t welcome reports of safety concerns
  • Doesn’t invite, investigate and address reports of abuse, threats, assaults
  • Doesn’t listen to the views of ‘front line’ employees
  • Defers making improvements that are needed
  • Hasn’t made suitable provisions

Who is most at risk of serious assault?