Home - 6 ways to reduce the risks of work-related violence

UpdatesJul 08, 2014

6 ways to reduce the risks of work-related violence

Work-related violence is increasingly common and can happen to anybody working in any industry, particularly industries that are open to the public or those that work closely with distressed or unstable members of the community.

By Michael Selinger

[Ed Note: Work-related violence is increasingly common and can happen to anybody working in any industry, particularly industries that are open to the public or those that work closely with distressed or unstable members of the community.

Work-related violence can cause physical or psychological damage to your workers. If your workplace is open to the public or external clients, your workers could be at a greater risk.

When might work-related violence occur?

Although work-related violence can happen at any workplace, it more commonly occurs in the following industries:

Perpetrators of violence in the workplace are not always your workers – they can also include third parties such as clients, customers or other service users of your business, such as patients, students and wards of the state.

Common hazards that lead to third-party violence include:

It’s important to be aware of these hazards and to protect your workers at all times. If you can’t completely eliminate hazards, you must take all reasonable steps to reduce the risks by implementing a range of control measures.

Below, Michael will outline 6 control measures you can use to reduce the risks of work-related violence. Just make sure that when you implement these control measures, you do not introduce a new hazard into your workplace, e.g. by fencing your premises with barbed-wire or electric fencing to deter intruders, make sure your workers are not at risk of injury.

Until next time…]

How to prevent work-related violence?

Unfortunately, a substantial number of Australian workers are subjected to work-related violence on a daily basis, either from other staff or from external sources such as members of the public.

SafeWork SA has recently published a comprehensive guide, called Preventing and Responding to Work-Related Violence, which sets out some important steps you can take to protect the health of your workers. What is work-related violence? 

To understand the extent of your responsibility to your workforce, it is important to consider what constitutes work-related violence. It can include a broad range of misconduct, such as:

Who is usually the perpetrator? 

The harm usually comes from one of three main sources:

  1. From an external party where violence against your staff is intentional, such as an armed robber or a disgruntled member of the public seeking to cause physical harm, e.g. an angry motorist throwing objects at a construction worker.
  2. From other staff in your business. This tends to be less common and could be the result of personal disputes between colleagues that may or may not be work-related. The risk that such violence can occur within the workplace cannot be ignored, particularly if it may be associated with bullying or harassment.
  3. From third parties who interact with your business because of the service nature of your business.

6 control measures can you implement to reduce work-related violence 

It is important that you take a proactive and systematic approach to the risks of work-related violence in your workplace.

This approach includes:

Warm regards,

Michael Selinger
Editor-in-Chief
Health & Safety Handbook

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