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Violence in The Workplace

by | Jul 13, 2022 | Health & Safety

Since the pandemic began, individuals, teams, and entire organisations have been put under more stress than ever. Along with this stress and the changes that the pandemic has caused, there has been a severe spike in violence in the workplace.

Not only are physical and mental assaults happening in person, but there has also been an escalation in online harm. In this post, Safety Services Direct explores this concerning trend, and how you can mitigate it within your own workforce.

What is violence and abuse in the workplace?

Violence in the workplace is not as simple or as linear as physical assault. Workplace violence can include any act in which a person is abused, intimidated, threatened, or assaulted in their place of employment, or by their colleagues.

These violent transgressions include verbal or written threats, verbal abuse, threatening behaviour, and physical attacks. With the prevalence of the internet and our increased connection, many of these forms of harassment have moved online too, bringing workplace violence closer to home.

How has workplace violence changed in recent years?

Data from the Health & Safety Executive and the ONS in 2020 outlined the high prevalence of aggression and violence affecting workforces across the UK. With 688,000 reported incidents of aggression and violence in the workplace in England and Wales alone, 300,000 of these were comprised of assaults.

Not only have incident numbers peaked since the pandemic, but a rising number of workers have been compelled to work from home. While remote work has grown in popularity, necessitating work from home has effectively caused many to become lone workers, and therefore exposed to greater unforeseen personal safety risks. This includes partner abuse and other forms of domestic abuse.

There has also been an escalation in online harm. A pilot study conducted by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust found an escalation in cyber abuse in 2020, with a startling 35% of participants experiencing online abuse at work. Of these victims, 83% stated that the abuse escalated during the pandemic. Perpetrators included colleague (29%), ex-colleague (29%), and patient/client/customer (11%). A shocking 92% of victims reported that this impacted their mental health. In a time where life has become harder for many, and mental health has suffered because of increased isolation, family and financial concerns, and many other aspects of life, this is a particularly worrying statistic.

How can you protect your workforce from violence in the workplace UK?

The previously mentioned study by the Suzy Lamplugh Trust found that workplace training and risk assessment is far below what may be expected. Only 19% of participants stated that they had been risk assessed, 13% had received training, 13% knew their company policy/guidance, and as little as 5% had access to lone working apps or devices.

For such a prevalent and problematic issue, these statistics are particularly concerning. Fortunately, there are avenues that businesses can take to mitigate these issues. For businesses and employers, ensuring that your workforce is safe, and their wellbeing protected, should be a top priority. 

Safety Service’s Direct have a number of online training courses to help deal with these issues. Our professional training courses tackle a wide range of concerns and deficiencies in training, so that you can find one to suit your individual business and your employees needs. Here are the top courses that we recommend to help mitigate abuse in the workplace:

Conclusion on violence at work

Are you taking effective steps to protect your workforce and your organisation against the cost of personal safety incidents? With the changes experienced since the beginning of the pandemic, individuals are feeling a decreased sense of security. And in many cases – in very real ways.

Protect the wellbeing and safety of your employees today by ensuring that they have the relevant training that they need. If you would like to know more about the courses we offer and what would best suit your situation, contact us today.

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