To reduce the risk of an assault at work compensation claim, what should your Employer actually do?
A straightforward 4 stage management process is set out below:
STAGE 1- FINDING OUT IF YOU HAVE A VIOLENCE PROBLEM
The first step in risk assessment is to identify the hazard so as to reduce the chance of an employee making an assault at work compensation claim. You may think violence is not a problem at your workplace or that incidents are rare. However, your employees’ view may be very different.
Ask your staff
Do this informally through managers, supervisors and safety representatives or use a short questionnaire to find out whether your employees ever feel threatened. Tell them the results of your survey so they realise that you recognise the problem.
Keep detailed records
It is a good idea to record incidents, including verbal abuse and threats as these may come in handy as evidence if an employee makes an assault at work compensation claim. You may find it useful to record the following information:
an account of what happened;
details of the victim(s), the assailant(s) and any witnesses;
the outcome, including working time lost to both the
individual(s) affected and to the organisation as a whole;
details of the location of the incident.
For a variety of reasons some employees may be reluctant to report incidents of aggressive behaviour which make them feel threatened or worried. They may for instance feel that accepting abuse is part of the job.
You will need a record of all incidents to enable you to build up a complete picture of the problem. Encourage employees to report incidents promptly and fully and let them know that this is what you expect.
Classify all assault at work incidents
Use headings such as place, time, type of incident, potential severity, who was involved and possible causes. It is important that you examine each assault at work incident report to establish whether there could have been a more serious outcome. Again, recording this information will be helpful if an employee does make an assault at work compensation claim. Here is an example of a simple classification to help you decide how serious incidents are:
injury or emotional shock requiring first aid, out-patient
treatment, counselling, absence from work (record number
feeling of being at risk or distressed.
STAGE 2 – DECIDING WHAT ACTION TO TAKE
Having found out that violence and assaults at work could be a problem for your employees you need to decide what needs to be done. Continue the risk assessment by taking the following steps to help you decide what action you need to take which again will reduce the chances of an employee making an assault at work compensation claim.
Decide who might be harmed, and how
Identify which employees are at risk – those who have face-to-face contact with the public are normally the most vulnerable. Where appropriate, identify potentially violent people in advance so that the risks from them can be minimised.
Evaluate the risk of an assault at work compensation claim
Check existing arrangements, are the precautions already in place adequate or should more be done? Remember it is usually a combination of factors that give rise to violence. Factors which you can influence include:
the level of training and information provided;
the design of the job.
Training and information
Train your employees so that they can spot the early signs of aggression and either avoid it or cope with it. Make sure they fully understand any system you have set up for their protection.
Provide employees with any information they might need to identify clients with a history of violence or to anticipate factors which might make violence more likely.
Provide better seating, decor, lighting in public waiting rooms and more regular information about delays. Consider physical security measures such as:
video cameras or alarm systems;
coded security locks on doors to keep the public out of staff areas;
wider counters and raised floors on the staff side of the counter to give staff more protection.
Record your findings
Keep a record of the significant findings of your assessment for evidence if an employee does make an assault at work compensation claim. The record should provide a working document for both managers and employees.
Review and revise your assessment
Regularly check that your assessment is a true reflection of your current work situation. Be prepared to add further measures or change existing measures where these are not working. This is particularly important where the job changes. If a violent incident
occurs, look back at your assessment, evaluate it and make any necessary changes.
STAGE 3 – TAKE ACTION
Your policy for dealing with violence may be written into your health and safety policy statement, so that all employees are aware of it. This will help your employees to co-operate with you, follow procedures properly and report any further assaults at work.
STAGE 4 – CHECK WHAT YOU HAVE DONE
Check on a regular basis how well your arrangements are working, consulting employees or their representatives as you do so. Consider setting up joint management and safety representative committees to do this. Keep records of incidents and examine them regularly; they will show what progress you are making and if the problem is
changing. If your measures are working well, keep them up. If violence is still a problem, try something else. Go back to Stages 1 and 2 and identify other preventive measures that could work.
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