Risk assessment of work-related violence

1.  Introduction

The University’s policy on general risk assessment can be found in Policy Statement S5/08. This Policy is intended as a supplement to the information contained in the main policy. It recognises that some tasks undertaken by employees of the University may involve association with persons who could be violent; violence in this context being taken as ‘any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work’. The risk of violence at work requires assessment in the same way as the risk of exposure to hazardous substances or the risk of slipping and falling, and heads of departments and institutions should identify the employees who might be affected by violence whilst at work.

Examples of these are:

(a)  Groups of employees, such as security staff, Proctors’ Officers, portering staff, clinical staff particularly those who visit private homes, library reception staff, office reception staff, certain museum staff and certain Examination School’s staff, whose work brings them into contact with non-employees;

(b)  Employees who work in areas where non-employees can gain easy access;

(c)  Employees who may be specifically sought out to further a ‘cause’;

(d)  Employees who may be in a department or institution, which is itself, a target.

2.  Risk assessment

Where heads of departments and institutions have identified employees at risk, following the usual University pattern for assessment, it is then necessary to judge whether or not the risk is significant and to decide whether existing risk control measures are sufficient, or whether additional measures are required.

Risk control measures include procedures, changes to working practices and workplaces following wherever possible due consultation with the employees concerned and providing adequate information instruction and training.

3.  Actions required                                                     

(a)  Heads of departments and institutions are required to appoint person(s) to carry out risk assessments relating to work-related violence.

(b)  Those responsible for the risk assessment work must be specifically trained for the task. Initial assessor training and advice on risk control measures, including further training, will be provided by the University Security Services in liaison with the University Safety Office.

(c)  A record of the significant findings of the assessment work must be made. This should include how employees may be affected and the important conclusions about risk control.

If action is required, then this must be recorded in the assessment.

(d)  Departments and institutions should encourage reporting of work-related violence. Employees should report all incidents on a University Accident Report Form.

(e)  The assessment should be reviewed on an annual basis.

July 2005