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Four million people experience violence at work. Here’s how to crack down on workplace violence

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Workplace is increasingly becoming violent. A new report shows that 12% of people have experienced work-related violence – such as being pushed or spat on, or being punched or stabbed.

According to the poll carried out by YouGov for the TUC, 20% of people who have experienced violence in their workplace report that it has happened more than 10 times.

The report has been released to coincide with the start of Heartunions week.

TUC is concerned that since there are more than 31 million people in employment, the figures could mean nearly 4 million people have experienced violence at work at some point in their career.

The biggest group to say they have faced work-related violence were medical and health workers (22%), followed by workers in education (12%), hospitality and leisure (11%), retail (9%) and manufacturing (6%).

According to TUC’s calculations, this could mean as many as 870,000 medical and health workers, 470,000 workers in education and 430,000 workers in the hospitality and leisure industry have been victims of workplace violence.

“Workplace violence is far too common in the UK,” TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said. “These disturbing findings show that millions of people are likely to experience violence and intimidation at some point in their working life – with A&E staff, nurses, teachers, hotel receptionists and shop workers particularly at risk.

“There is no excuse for physically assaulting someone. Workplaces must be safe for everyone.”

The TUC has recently published new advice on what companies should do to crack down on workplace violence. The guidance says:
• Employers must treat threatening language and verbal abuse as workplace violence. Verbal abuse may develop into physical abuse if it is not challenged.
• All workers should be briefed on how to report violent incidents.
• There should be an agreed reporting form, written in simple language and which includes the incident time and location, a description of assailant, and a description of any injuries suffered.
• Forms should be available for all workers for whom English is not their first language.
• The worker involved must be given the necessary time to complete the report form in full, as soon as possible after the incident.
• Workers should be given feedback about what will happen next, along with a timescale for action. It is important that staff see action being taken as this will encourage more staff to report similar incidents in the future.

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