How Can You Mitigate Violence Within The Workplace?

mitigating violence within the workplace header image

The nature of busy and stressful workplaces puts them at risk of violent incidents, whether it’s a staff altercation, a dangerous customer, or criminal public behaviour. Whilst certain industries are more prone to violence within the workplace, it’s essential that all organisations have a strategy in place that prevents incidents and creates a safe, effective way to deal with those that may still occur. Here are a few important things that you should take into consideration when mitigating violence within your workplace.


Risk Assessment


The very first issue that needs to be considered is the extent of previous violent events. Have they been occurring regularly? Why are they occurring? Where do the threats originate – are they internal or external? Were previous incidents resolved effectively?


By carefully analysing previous incidents, it gives you the basis needed to understand your workplace and how you may go about preventing and dealing with violence in future. Knowing the who, why, where, and when allows you to tackle the issue head on with preventative measures.


A Clear Line of Communication


Violent incidents often occur as an alternative to proper communication. If there are no clear lines of communication for staff or customers to talk their problems through with your business, they may take actions into their own hands.


By establishing a clear line of communication that everyone is aware of, you will help to remove the circumstances that often lead to a violent event, and will in turn reduce the likelihood of one occurring. Whether it’s staff who might want to discuss a problem at work, or a customer who might want to raise an issue, there needs to be a simple and direct way for them to do so.



Creating A Sitewide System & Procedure For Violent Incidents


The vast majority of organisations and businesses with a physical location (a shop, a warehouse, an office, a surgery and so on) are at risk of violence at some point. Even if you have preventative measures in place, people can be entirely unpredictable, so you can never completely eliminate the risk. It’s essential to create an effective procedure so that they can be dealt with quickly and safely.


A well thought out procedure that seeks to diffuse situations and halt violent behaviour rapidly could be the difference between a narrow escape and serious injury, or significant harm to the reputation and health & safety status of your organisation.


Staff Training


No matter who a violent incident may occur between, your staff will in one way or another be involved, even if it’s only to break up a customer altercation. Therefore, all staff should be made aware of exactly what they should do in any circumstance in order to best manage the situation and minimise violence.


Regular training should be held, especially for new members of staff, on what to do if they suspect a violent incident may occur, if they witness one, or if they are victim to one.


Security Measures


Security measures should be in place at every physical business location, and they can help to both prevent and deal with violence after the fact. Depending on the industry in which your business operates, there are different security measures that could be most effective:


  • Security guards are great for shops and large office buildings as they can intervene safely and prevent access to unauthorised visitors
  • CCTV cameras are effective in almost all physical locations as they not only act as a visual deterrent, but also provide video footage evidence of incidents that do occur
  • Alarm systems are ideal for organisations like hospitals and care facilities where patients may be violent towards staff. Emergency key fobs can allow staff to alert others of a violent situation and receive rapid support