The risk of violence

Cert IV OHS, Certificate IV in OHSHave you experienced violence in the workplace? Violence in the workplace is more common than you would think. However, it is the way management go about diffusing or eliminating violence in the workplace that decreases the risks of violence within the workplace. The issue, however, is that violence within the workplace can be unpredictable – so, how do you manage something that you cannot predict? 

For successful management of risk within the workplace, there must firstly be recognition that there is a problem that needs to be resolved. The risk of violence should be assessed and appropriate risk eliminating measures should be in place, decreasing the risk of violence. By being able to identify types of violence and the motivators for violence, the effective measures can be put in place; you must, however, identify first why violence occurs.

The risk management approach, whereby you identify the hazard, assess the risk, control the risk and also monitor the risk to ensure that the issue does not arise again, can be applied to violence within the workplace. 

Identification of the hazard:

1. Conduct and audit to identify violence issues. Look into the workplace environment, policies and procedures, employees, client and staff interaction, and the level of crime in the industry. Are the statistics high?

2. Review incidents report to identify when, where and why the incident first occurred.

3. Talk to staff and survey them in regard to their thoughts of violence in the workplace and their perceptions.

4. Identify the type or types of violence that staff will be exposed to, and the motivators of violence.

An assessment of risk of violence within the workplace should also take place: identifying the level of violence that the workplace is prone to, and set the priority for risk control. The assessment must take into account the likelihood of violence occurring and the consequences associated. For example, bullying within the workplace is common and the consequence would be high turnover of employees. Another example would be a robbery, as staff handle cash and are in a high crime area, the consequence being someone could be injured.

Businesses must be able to identify the risk of violence and what the consequences of the risk occurring within the workplace. Being able to determine the underlying reason for violence is key to being able to minimise the risk occurring. Putting in place policies and procedures for employees to follow, if violence within the workplace does occur, will minimise the risk of violence. If you don’t know where to start with your analysis of risk of violence within the workplace, please contact our Risks Specialists and we can assist in identifying the risk of violence and how to develop a plan to eliminate the risk.