Latest violence at work figures
The Health and Safety Executive has released a new set of statistics on violence in the workplace, indicating the number of violent incidents at work has declined over the past decade, with the incident rate remaining stable over the last four years.
The new figures are based on findings from the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) and show that in 2012/13:
- the risk of being a victim of actual or threatened violence at work in 2012/13 was similar to the last few years, with an estimated 1.4% of working adults the victims of one or more violent incidents at work
- a total of 323,000 adults of working age in employment experienced work-related violence including threats and physical assault
- there were an estimated 649,000 incidents of violence at work, comprising 332,000 assaults and 317,000 threats (compared with an estimated 643,000 incidents in 2011/12)
- some 1.2% of women and 1.6% of men were victims of violence at work once or more during the year prior to the survey
- it is estimated that 60% of victims reported one incident of work-related violence while 16% experienced two incidents of work-related violence and 24% experienced three or more incidents
- strangers were the offenders in 60% of cases of workplace violence
- among incidents where the offender was known, the offenders were most likely to be clients or a member of the public known through work
- victims of actual or threatened violence at work said that the offender was under the influence of alcohol in 38% of incidents, and that the offender was under the influence of drugs in 26% of incidents
- 51% of assaults at work resulted in injury, with minor bruising or a black eye accounting for the majority of the injuries recorded.
Guidelines on violence against retail staff
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has published new guidelines to help protect workers in the retail sector against incidents of violence.
Launching the guidance, the BRC said that violence remains “an unacceptable threat” to the retail sector’s three million employees.
As a result, the BRC has produced Tackling Violence against Staff: Best Practice Guidelines for Retailers to help retailers of all sizes improve staff protection and make it clear that abuse from customers should not be considered “part of the job”.
The Guidelines are supported by shop workers’ union Usdaw and the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS). They demonstrate action which can be taken by retailers to keep staff safe, from safety-conscious design of the working environment to conflict management training and ensuring that there are effective procedures in place for when an incident occurs.
The publication was welcomed by John Hannett, General Secretary of the trade union Usdaw, who said, “Usdaw wants to see a greater commitment from the Government to preventing violence against shopworkers. All too often we see violent criminals getting away with lenient sentences, let off with a caution and worst of all, in too many cases, not even being charged.”
He added, “We have particular concerns around the sale of alcohol and the legal obligations placed on shopworkers to police the law. Whether it is ensuring alcohol is not served to minors or refusing to serve those who have already had too much; shopworkers are on the frontline of enforcing licensing laws. All too often that can lead to violence, threats and abuse. Parliament passes these laws, which we support, and expects shopworkers to police them. So we are looking for Parliament and the Government to provide the necessary protections.”