Do you feel safe at work?

21 Jan

Firstly take our poll…

The Health and Safety Executive released new statistics today around violence at work. According to the main stats, in 2009/10 approximately 318,000 workers experienced at least one incidence of violence at work.  I find this utterly shocking. True it’s down from the previous number of 327,000 but it’s still not acceptable.

It’s not surprising to see that the highest number of incidents came from people working in protective service occupations (police, prison officers etc). Health care professionals again featured highly. No great shock here as these are sectors which have a greater interaction with people. What was more disturbing was the fact that 5% of offences were actually committed by work colleagues.

Employers have a duty of care towards their staff and this extends to ensuring that the people with whom they work are not a threat.  I’ve worked since I was 14 – from shop assistant, fast food bunny, waitress, civil servant to a charity bod. I’ve worked in a variety of environments – from serving the inebriated at Cream nights to organising film premieres and to the more sedate typical office working day. I’ve stacked shelves, cleaned needles out of toilets, shaken charity tins and organised PR campaigns. Yet I have never had any cause to fear violence from a work colleague.

I cannot imagine coming into work and feeling threatened. Yes it’s a small percentage but the consequences for those people working in fear is far reaching and can cause not only physical distress but could affect their mental well-being and family life.

Violence in the workplace regardless of who commits it is not tolerable, but it’s particular heinous from a person in a position of trust.  

Read the full report here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/statistics/causdis/violence/british-crime-survey2009-10.pdf

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One Response to “Do you feel safe at work?”

  1. Laura Milsom January 21, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    Any worker who has the joy of dealing with Joe Public (especially an inebriated one) risks violence, especially as he/she sometimes sees workers in this sector – from waiters and bar staff to tour guides and protective service operations – as being in the way of their fun.

    My experience was abroad working as a tour leader, which was literally a 24/7 job. Even on nights out, I was seen as the responsible one for queues/overcharging/unrequited love and beared the brunt of some threats and violent behaviour from one of my group. I was a 26 year old female; him a 6ft, scary ex-soldier, and to say I was intimidated would be an understatement. Aside from myself, I also had to think about the other members of the group.

    There is no need for violence in any situation, let alone when you are just trying to do your job, whatever that may be. Luckily, my situation was resolved with some strong words from a colleague backing me up and an apology, but the atmosphere I had to work in in respect to that passenger remained fraught.

    For anyone who fears someone or a situation in their workplace, believing it could escalate into violence, I urge them to talk to someone about it and get it resolved as soon as possible.

    It is not worth waiting for the terrible consquences which might occur.

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