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?