One in 8 employees have experienced workplace violence, according to a recent survey conducted by the Trades Union Congress (TUC). The HSE defines workplace violence as ‘any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work’. This could include verbal abuse or threats as well as physical attacks. Of the nearly 600,000 incidents that were reported in 2014-2015, more than half were instigated by individuals from outside the organisation. In addition, more than 40 per cent of employees who have been victims of workplace violence have gone on to report multiple incidents.
Left unchecked, workplace violence, or the probability that an employee may be the target of violence, can quickly erode employee productivity and morale. This potentially hazardous work environment could destroy your organisation’s overall well-being as it would make it more difficult to retain existing employees as well as recruit new ones. And, by not finding ways to prevent incidents, your organisation could experience increased costs as a result of having to pay health and safety fines, hire temporary workers to fill in for injured employees and repair your tarnished public reputation.
To ensure that your organisation is able to combat workplace violence, follow these five tips:
- Provide training for all employees on what constitutes unacceptable behaviour and how to properly report violent incidents.
- Develop a comprehensive scheme to prevent workplace violence. This could include providing employees with conflict resolution training and establishing a system for reporting stresses or conflicts. Regardless of whatever your scheme entails, remember to review it at least annually.
- Treat verbal abuse and threatening language as workplace violence, as it may develop into a physical incident.
- Develop an incident form. This document should include information such as the time and location of the incident, a description and/or name of the assailant, and an outline of any injuries suffered. (Note: All forms and documents related to workplace violence should be available in multiple languages for employees whose first language is not English.)
- Provide employees who report an incident of violence with the timeline on the actions that will be taken, and reassure them that they will be protected. In addition, you may want to provide employees with information on available services outside of your organisation to help them cope with and process the incident.
While your organisation can never truly prevent all incidents of workplace violence, you can implement beneficial procedures and practices to minimise its potential detrimental effects. For additional guidance on how to provide your employees with a safe working environment, contact Bollington Insurance Brokers today.