UK: Keep attackers at bay.

UK: Keep attackers at bay. - Simple measures can protect your staff from violence at work.

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Simple measures can protect your staff from violence at work.

How can employees be protected against personal attacks in the workplace?

The personal safety of staff is not usually high up the agenda for most small businesses. Taking time to implement safety procedures seems like a huge indulgence when customers are hard to come by, margins are tight and staff are already busy. Yet, failing to take the issue seriously can be far more costly in the long run. If employees are attacked, they suffer pain, may need to miss work and the whole workforce may become fearful.

Most employers don't realise that they are legally obliged to take care of staff. Further, insurance premiums may take a huge hike if something does happen to someone in their care, and they could be hit by the legal costs and time implications of a prosecution.

Personal safety procedures don't need to be time-consuming or expensive.

We urge employers, large or small, to sit down with employees and get them to think about when their personal safety might be at risk during the course of their working day. Employees will usually be the best placed to come up with solutions to make their lives safer. Help them to draw up a policy, and research the costs and feasibility of any of their personal safety improvement ideas. Simple measures might include:

- Installing adequate lighting inside and outside the workplace and keeping it well-maintained

- Making sure workers carry a personal safety alarm

- Ensuring that security systems for buildings are in place and that they work

- Ensuring that strangers cannot easily access your place of work

- Creating a system to record where everyone is and how they can be contacted

- Recording all violent incidents and then reviewing procedures afterwards

- Encouraging staff to make arrangements for getting home if they are working late such as being collected or taking a minicab from a well-known firm

- Setting up training in handling and defusing aggression

Diana Lamplugh is director of the Suzy Lamplugh Trust, 0181 392 1839.

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