Assessing risk of violence and aggression in the workplace

Information on effectively managing and mitigating the risk of violence and aggression in the workplace

Managing violence and aggression risks

You need to identify and implement suitable control measures to manage violence and aggression risks. These measures can be grouped into 3 main headings:

  • customer care
  • deter offenders
  • secure the working environment

Here are some examples of control measures that you can put into practice.

Customer care

It’s important to ensure that the way you work, and your services, do not promote aggression from customers. You can reduce these risks by making sure:

  • staffing levels are adequate for the time of day/week
  • waiting/queuing times are reasonable, and that you provide information for clients and visitors on waiting time
  • staff are trained in violence detection and management, including complaint and grievance handling
  • customers are provided with information about rights and responsibilities, including proof-of-age schemes
  • ensure information is clear to reduce uncertainty
  • you look at stress reduction factors, such as temperature control, noise, natural and adequate light levels, and suitable waiting areas
  • staff are trained in escalation techniques appropriate to their working environment
  • staff are aware of their rights and responsibilities
  • staff know about the reporting processes that are in place
  • staff know about options they have to deal with or prevent a situation escalating

Deter offenders

You should take steps to remove the incentive for violence, such as:

  • reduce cash held on site (use electronic payment methods)
  • regularly remove cash from accessible areas and empty the till of cash at night
  • do not cash up/count money in public view
  • have a safe procedure for banking and/or cash collection, which should never be done by one person on their own

Deter offenders by making it known that security measures are in place, for example:

  • make security cameras, mirrors or beepers visible
  • provide service counters that act as a barrier to physical contact between clients and staff
  • ensure all safety alarms are tested regularly
  • display notices declaring CCTV and other security measures are on site
  • remove any items that could be used as a weapon

Provide a secure working environment

Reduce the risk of violence and aggression by making sure the working environment has:

  • well-lit external areas, with easy access and no hiding places
  • support for staff working alone, or working in isolated conditions
  • parking for night staff with easy access to the premises
  • a safe area for workers in case of emergency
  • alternative, or arranged transport for staff who finish late who rely on public transport
  • security measures in place that checks visitors' credentials at all entrances
  • keyholders trained in what to do in a call-out
  • access key/card/code systems or lock doors to staff-only areas
  • taken steps to ensure only staff have and use keys