Violence In The Workplace
According to the 2013/2014 crime survey, an estimated 583,000 incidents of violence at work took place in that year alone. But violence is not limited to physical attacks.
Any form of abusive and aggressive behaviour or action at work is considered violence. The employer must prevent any such abuse at work and protect the employees against such acts of violence from members of the public, customers, or other employees.
When a worker reports an incident to the employer where the worker was a victim of violence in the workplace, the employer has to decide whether the incident constitutes a criminal offence.
- Acts of violence that can be considered criminal offences are:
- Abusive language.
- Racial slurs.
- Threatening behaviour that includes threats to kill.
- Physical attacks including kicking, punching, using weapons that lead to injury.
Any acts that cause injury or put the safety of employees at risk should be reported to the police. If the employer fails to take action, the employee could make an injury claim or an employment law claim against the employer.
Employers take action
Safety in the workplace is the responsibility of the employer. The employer must make sure the work environment and any equipment or machinery don’t pose a risk to the health and safety of the works.
Other risks come from people employees meet or interact with during their work. This is especially true of high-risk jobs like caregivers for people with mental illness.
Employers should assess the risks and enforce safety policies and procedures to prevent any violent incidents against the employees.
Training workers to follow safety procedures and reviews of such policies should take place on a regular basis.
Violence in the workplace is a big issue that employers have to take steps to prevent. If the employer fails to provide a safe place at work, they might face civil claims from an injured employee.