Preventing Violence in the Workplace – A Growing Issue

Did you know that one of the major causes of death in the corporate world is workplace violence? Secondary to transportation, this growing issue can have very damaging effects within a business. Causing morale, reputation and revenue to drop, making this something businesses need to address now.

Workplace violence can occur in any variety of industries, situations and settings. This is an ever-growing concern for both the employers and employees. The CSEW (Crime Survey for England and Wales) states that there were an estimated 694,000 incidents of violence at work, comprising of 330,000 assaults and 364,000 threats in 2017/18. This compares to an estimated 642,000 incidents in 2016/17. And, that number doesn’t include those cases that go undocumented.


  • The risk of being a victim of actual or threatened violence at work is similar to the last few years, with an estimated 1.5 per cent of working adults being the victim of one or more violent incidents at work.
  • 374,000 adults of working age in employment experienced violence at work, including threats and physical assault.

It is your duty, as a business leader to care for your employees. It is your obligation to provide a safe working environment by taking the needed action and anticipating potential threats to prevent any violence or harassment from taking place. Ensuring this is done, you can then build a stronger company culture and protect your most important corporate assets, your employees.

Workplace Violence Defined

What is the definition of workplace violence? Any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behaviour that occurs in or outside the work site. This can range from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and homicide, one of the leading causes of job-related deaths.

Types of workplace violence

There are many varieties of violence, however, to break this down, please see four types of workplace violence:

  1. Violence directed at employees by clients, patients, students, customers or any others for which the organisation provides services for.
  2. Violence directed at co-workers, supervisors, or managers by a present or former employee.
  3. Violence committed in the workplace by someone who doesn’t work there but has a personal relationship with an employee — an abusive spouse or domestic partner
  4. Violent acts by criminals who have no other connection with the workplace but enter to commit robbery or another crime.

54% of work-place violence offenders were strangers. Among the 46% of incidents where the offender was known, they were most likely to be clients, or a member of the public known through work.

Why does preventing workplace violence matter?

It’s so important to address violence in the workplace immediately as it is recognised, because even a lack of trust can erode a health working environment. In the big scheme of things, if employees are unhappy, they may begin to look elsewhere to advance their careers.

Another important thing to remember is your brand identity, after all that hard work to get where you are now, it can be destroyed in an instant. And you could also sustain significant financial losses.

An incident within the workplace could lead to lowered productivity, property damage and even a loss of sales in the even of your business damaged reputation.

What can you do to prevent workplace violence?

Open communication: If your company culture promotes and encourages honest communication at all levels and your management team is open to constructive criticism, you are more likely going to find out and be able to act on potential incidents of violence.  See how your organisation and its teams can improve their communication lines in order to acknowledge any potential issues when they arise.

Incident reports: You’ll gain the strongest insights into the working environment from front line managers who work directly with employees on a day to day basis. Create a channel for your managers to document employee complaints and incidents down. These procedure should be clear and repeatable, and if you need to craft new policies, respect your employees’ time. Treat reports seriously, discreetly, and within the vein of accepted HR procedures.

Harassment policy: Most larger companies will have harassment policies already in place, but for smaller organisations this is something to act upon. Your policy declarations will form the backbone of your intent to maintain workplace stability.

Top down approach: The best way to implement change is to start from the top of the hierarchy in the business, down to the lower levels. Business leaders need to lead by example and should play an active role in designing and implementing violence prevention programs. Otherwise the actions of others throughout the company cannot be properly held accountable.

Would you like to know the best routes to take into resolving these conflicts at work and keeping the personal safety of your employees a priority? If you would like to take the course or book this training in for your staff, contact us on 01933 678110 or email

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