Workplace violence and aggression occur when an employee is abused, threatened, or assaulted by either a co-worker, employer, manager, customer, or member of the general public.
In essence, the definition of workplace violence extends to any action or behaviour that could lead to an incident that impacts the health and safety of an employee.
According to WorkSafe Victoria, a person is may be acting aggressively if they are:
It is an employer’s responsibility, as far as is reasonably practical, to provide and maintain a safe and healthy work environment for all your employees, customers, visitors, and members of the general public.
In the first instance employers will be expected to have assessed potential for workplace violence and eliminated the risks as far as possible. As this is hard to guarantee in most workplaces, the employer will then be responsible for managing to further reduce the risk of the outstanding risks.
The management style that is opted for is dependent on the type of violence and the severity of the situation. Having a clear policy will provide clarity on this situation and keep employees informed on how to best respond if caught off guard in a violent situation in the workplace.
A policy on workplace violence will provide employees with a clear understanding of the parameters of violence and aggression, equip them with appropriate responses, and inform them of potential consequences.
Below are factors to consider when drafting a violence policy and managing workplace violence:
Whether an employer wants to prevent internal workplace violence (i.e. between employees) or violence involving customers and the general public, onsite training is an effective way to give employees the skills and knowledge they need to handle a violent scenario.
Employers can select from several reputable third-party training providers, who can potentially provide training from the convenience of your own worksite. These training sessions help employees to:
Depending on the provider, employers may have the freedom to customise the contents of the training course to suit the business so that employees learn how to deal with situations that relate specifically to their worksite.