According to the HSE, there are around 1.3 million attacks on workers in the UK every year and shop-workers’ union USDAW estimates that an employee is punched, kicked or threatened every minute of the day.
With the aim of significantly improving these alarming statistics, the HSE has embarked upon a three-year campaign, starting with a series of guides and case studies showing small businesses how to reduce the risk of violence to their staff.
The HSE points out that violence against employees, besides obviously affecting the victim, can seriously impact on the business too. Consequences of attacks on staff can include extra sick leave, poor staff retention and an increase in already inflated insurance premiums.
Chair of the Health & Safety Commission Bill Callaghan emphasises that most measures to reduce violence can be introduced at very little cost to the business, with “high technology and high cost equipment only needed where there is a particularly high risk of violence.”
Teaching employees who may be at risk, including those who work early in the morning, late at night or in certain geographical locations, to avoid situations where they feel at risk, and how to behave in a non-confrontational manner can reduce the possibility of violence at little or no cost.
The guides and case studies on violence against employees can be found at www.hse.gov.uk/violence.