Violence and aggression can potentially occur in any workplace, especially where employees interact with customers. Violence includes verbal abuse, threats or physical assault. Any employee who experiences work-related violence may suffer physical and psychological harm. They commonly lose confidence, fear loss of control, and become more insecure or panicky.
The after-effects of violence can hurt your business because of the time you spend dealing with the incident, employee absence, your liability costs and even potential claims for compensation. Violence can lower the morale of other employees and make it difficult for you to keep and recruit employees.
When a violent incident has occurred, you need to deal with it straightaway. For example, run critical incident debriefings and offer an employment assistance program for the victims of violence.
Risk assessments are required by law to consider the hazards and health and safety risks of violent acts, so you can put safeguards in place. Certain physical controls can cut the risk of violence:
Signs of visible security can deter some potentially violent clients. Reception areas should be easy to identify and reach, adequately staffed and equipped with a bell or panic button. Other techniques, such as good lighting, CCTV, warning signs and suitable seating areas, help to reduce the risks in these areas.
An anti-violence policy should set out disciplinary procedures for any employees who commit, incite or encourage violence in your workplace. This would include an investigation into the incident, a formal meeting and a decision on how to address it. Before taking any action on violence, it is crucial to get expert advice.
Employsure will help you effectively deal with violence in the workplace. For peace of mind, please call our 24 hour Advice Line now on 1300 651 415.