Workplace Violence – No excuse

July 3, 2009 at 8:00 pm Leave a comment

Physical violence is a serious occupational hazard. It covers insults, threats or physical aggression. In 2005 4% of workers report being subjected to actual physical violence from members of the public in the previous twelve months. There is no excuse for violent behaviour.

Violence can come from inside or outside an organisation. Specific acts of violence may be unpredictable, but the likely situations in which violence occurs are not. Risk factors include working with the public, handling money, and working alone.

The consequences of violent incidents, which include injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickness absence and poor job performance, can be extremely serious both for individuals and organisations.

Organisations cannot wait until a physical assault takes place before acting. Effective interventions should match an organisation’s particular circumstances, and be based on thorough risk assessments.

Approaches based on preventing violence in the first place are more sustainable than isolated, individual-level measures once an incident has occurred. Effective measures can include providing adequate lighting and video surveillance systems, making changes in work organisation and job design to avoid employees working alone, and providing training in managing difficult situations with customers and recognising warning signs.

It is also important to have procedures that are to be followed in the case of any violent incident, including providing the victim with psychological support.

 

However, be careful. There are the occasional elements within some organisations that will ‘Cry Wolf’ and that will undermine all the good work and support you provide. I know of a couple of supervisors who work for the local authority who deliberately antagonise members of the public, winding them up until they raise their voice. Then run to their manager and complete a ‘Violence Report’. This leaves the member of the public feeling bullied, harassed and intimidated as the wheels of authority brow beat them into submission. The accuser then has an excuse to claim stress and anxiety and take a well earned break from work. While the real victim is subjected to the letter of accusation and threat of criminal investigation.

 

So Yes a good Violence Policy is needed but it has to be managed and controlled. All accusations must be properly investigated and all parties given equal rights until a conclusion is reached. False accusations should be strongly dealt with.

 

So how do you know when opposing parties are telling the truth?

This is where Competence Coaching comes into play. Learning to listen to people at an intuitive level, learn to listen to what not is said and the internal language of the interviewee. Use Global Listening – In Competence Coaching we teach advanced Global Listening techniques. If you are threatened by false accusations or even if you want to protect your organisation from the abuse of false accusations then contact – wilf@mindskills.co.uk to arrange a for confidential chat.

 

Wilf Archer, PhD, Chartered MCIPD; CMIOSH; RSP; GHR(Reg)

Chartered Practitioner

http://www.mindskills.co.uk

 

Wilf Archer is the UKs leading Mindskills Therapists and Competence Coach.

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Entry filed under: Health and Safety Coaching.

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