Assessing risk of violence and aggression in the workplace

The importance of recording incidences of violence and aggression in the workplace including using them to inform future actions

Previous incidents of violence and aggression

Reports of previous incidents are a good place to look when trying to assess the level of abusive behaviour. However, it is important to remember that existing reporting may be patchy in some organisations because not all incidents are reported. For this reason, the results should be used as a baseline for assessment.

A good starting point might be to look at each incident that has occurred and:

  • evaluate what happened
  • why it happened
  • how effectively it was handled

Many incidents are often the result of long-developing, identifiable trails of problems, conflicts, disputes and failures.

Sometimes there might not be a clear trend. However, the collection of information is still useful when employees are aware of what you are going to do with it. For example, it is very important that you notify them of the steps that you are going to take to prevent reoccurrence of a similar incident. This will improve the number of reporting incidents and participation.