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Tackling violence and aggression
in the workplace

September 23 2002 - The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has produced a new resource for employers to help reduce workplace violence and aggression in the workplace. The National Occupational Standards in managing work-related violence are available for use by employers to draw up policies on managing work-related violence. They also provide a framework for both managers and staff to assess training needs.

According to the British Crime Survey there are an amazing 1.3 million incidents of work-related violence each year. They can result in physical injuries as well as anxiety and stress for the people involved. The low employee morale, high absenteeism, recruitment and staff turnover problems and poor business image that result can also be serious for employers.

The HSE funded development of the standards by the Employment National Training Organisation (NTO) as part of a three-year programme aimed at cutting incidents of violence at work by 10 per cent by the end of 2003. The programme is intended to raise awareness of the problem, develop guidance for sectors most at risk, and commission research to build on existing knowledge.

Ann Harrington, of HSE's Health Directorate, said:

"Violence at work is totally unacceptable and employers have a duty under health and safety law to take action to tackle this problem, which has devastating consequences on the victims, and real financial costs for their employers.

"HSE is pleased to support these National Occupational Standards. They have been produced in consultation with a wide range of industry sectors and interest groups and will provide a comprehensive, practical resource for all those who have an interest in tackling work-related violence and aggression."

The Standards are aimed at a number of different occupational and management roles, covering topics such as:

- how to investigate a violent incident in the workplace;
- developing procedures to control risks to health and safety; and
- making sure your actions contribute to a safe working environment.

Sheila Hawkins, who led the project on behalf of the Employment NTO said:

"These standards will help to define good practice in managing violence in any workplace and can be used to develop policies, analyse incidents, specify training outcomes and evaluate the effectiveness of training. We see these standards as a means to reducing the likelihood of violence occurring - something of benefit for everyone."

See also: Zero tolerance for bullies.

HSE's general guidance leaflet "Violence at work, a guide for employers", INDG69(rev), is available free for single copies and priced packs of ten from HSE Books. Detailed priced guidance is also available from HSE Books for the following sectors: health services, education, retail and banks and building societies. A new publication "Work-related violence, managing the risk in smaller businesses", HSG229, is also available.

Copies of the National Occupational Standards in Managing Work-related Violence CD-Rom price #32.50, are available from the Employment NTO www.empnto.co.uk to purchase electronically, orderline 0116-251-9727.

Copies of Violence at work, a guide for employers", INDG69(rev), ISBN 0-7176-1271-6, are available from HSE Books, PO Box 1999, Sudbury, Suffolk, CO10 2WA, tel: 01787-881165 or fax: 01787-313995. Priced publications are also available from good booksellers.

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