It is becoming more and more common to hear that customer facing employees are being confronted with verbal and physical violence.
Television ads are running showing the types of violence that our emergency service and medical personnel face on an all too regular basis. Queensland have an ad campaign showing bus drivers being verbally and/or physically assaulted for approaching far evaders or being held up in traffic roadworks or accidents.
Statistics show that in the past three years, Victorian nurses have faced an increase of 60% in reported assaults, whilst NSW report a 48% increase.
Whilst we see the ads focused on the assaults on healthcare workers, emergency services and bus drivers, they are not the only industries affected. The education and retail industries have both observed substantial increases in violence against employees.
So what can you do?
As an employer you are obligated to provide and maintain a safe workplace so far as is reasonably practicable.
In keeping with this some considerations to eliminate or reduce risk to your employees may include:-
- Designing the workplace to ensure furniture, fittings and work systems by putting employees out of reach from customers and general public.
- Wider counters
- Employees seated closer to door/exits
- Protective screens
- Engaging security guards
- Training for employees to manage risk situations when confronted with both physical and verbal abuse
- Creating and maintaining up-to-date procedures to include:
- To streamline service delivery to minimise frustration and to ensure a consistent approach from all employees
- Clarification of escalation of concerns – to ensure situations are handled by relatively qualified persons.
- Detail of support provisions available to employees
- Reporting process to ensure risks are addressed and reviewed for possible control measures.
For further information on how to minimise risk to your employees, contact us at [email protected] or 1300 720 004.
Information in HR Advice Online guides and blog posts is meant purely for educational discussion of human resources issues. It contains only general information about human resources matters and due to factors such as government legislation changes, may not be up-to-date at the time of reading. It is not legal advice and should not be treated as such.