Been Assaulted at Work?
We all have the right to go to work and not be subjected to any sort of violence, bullying or harassment. Unfortunately, many employees are exposed to this kind of unacceptable behaviour and some may even be subjected to physical violence as a result of being put in harm’s way.
This not only may have a physical effect on the victim but also a psychological effect. Many victims of assault suffer from effects of the assault long after the incident has happened including issues such as anxiety, depression and flashbacks.
Work-related violence is where an individual is threatened, abused, attacked or assaulted whilst carrying out their working role.
- Physical attacks
- Verbal abuse
Perpetrators may be co-workers, managers or most likely, third parties. All are completely unacceptable and breaches both ethical standards and the law.
Those most at risk of violence are those who are exposed to third party assaults such as such as service users or members of the public.
Some of the main sectors at risk are1.:
- Protective Services e.g. police
- Health e.g. NHS and emergency services
- Leisure e.g. pubs
Another group particularly vulnerable are lone workers.2. Working unsupervised and unaccompanied for either part of most of the working day does not automatically mean a greater risk of violence but the risks should be considered.
It is recommended that employees familiarise themselves with any policies regarding violence and harassment in the workplace. Staff should know the behaviour that is expected of them and also on the options available to them should they suffer an assault in the workplace. Any safety controls put in place by an employer should be followed and policies adhered to.
Employers are bound by the law to create an environment and implement controls and safeguards to ensure their staff are protected from being hurt in the workplace.
1) Ensuring the health, safety and welfare of employees
- Clear health and safety policies should be in place in relation to violence and harassment
- Information should be provided to employees regarding support available to them
2)Considering the risks of violence towards employees
- Assessment should be made of how significant any risks are
- Controls should be put in place to prevent or reduce these risks. Examples are the use of CCTV, using security companies for certain procedures, secure areas for higher risk processes, banning those with a history of abuse or violence towards staff etc
- Clear management plans should be put in place. Examples would be safer processes, appropriate training given to all staff and personal protective measures in place
- Lone working risks should be considered and managed where required
3) Informing their enforcing authority if an employee is the victim of physical violence whilst at work
- Employers should also advise employees to keep a diary where appropriate and also to collect witness information
- In the aftermath of the incident appropriate help and support should be provided which may include:
- Ensuring someone is with the victim
- Arranging medical care if necessary
- Reporting the crime
- Securing the premises and any evidence
- Keeping lines of communication open and establishing a plan, liaising with others as appropriate
- Providing a leave of absence to victims if needed to recover
- Having a robust aftercare plan such as ongoing support and counselling services available if appropriate, looking out for symptoms of after effects in employees, and ensuring other staff and managers understand how to support staff
- Conducting timely investigations in order to report to the relevant enforcing authority within legal timeframes
4) Informing and consulting employees in good time matters relating to their health and safety
- A suggestion would be having an appointed individual such as a trade union representative to represent employees on health and safety matters
- Procedures should be in place with a clear grievance and disciplinary process which could result in dismissal
- Staff should be made aware of any policies in relation to harassment and violence and their responsibilities towards it
- Staff should be made aware of a no tolerance policy towards violence and how to report it if they become a victim
- There should be clear guidance on what behaviour is deemed unacceptable including from other members of staff as well as third parties.
Can I Make a Claim?
If you have suffered from an assault in the workplace and you think it may be due to being put in a vulnerable situation by your employer or a lack of the appropriate safety measures which could have prevented the assault, you may be eligible for compensation.
How Can Injury Lawyers UK Help You?
At Injury Lawyers UK, we have an experienced team of legal advisers who will deal with your case professionally and sensitively. We won’t use legal jargon that you won’t understand. We completely understand you need clear and concise answers about what will happen next and your chances of a successful claim. We put people at the heart of what we do and understand the trauma that an assault can have on an individual and their families.
We operate a no win, no fee policy meaning you do not have to even consider costs unless we secure compensation for you. We always strive to get the maximum compensation so you get the justice you deserve for what you have suffered.