Assaults at work increased last year

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Assaults at work increased last year

Physical assaults at work increased last year but threats of violence fell, official statistics have revealed. A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report, based on British Crime Survey (BCS) and RIDDOR reports, reveals there were an estimated 341,000 physical assaults to British workers during the 12 months prior to the interviews, up 10 per cent from the previous year. The BCS statistics for 2010/11 used by HSE also reveal there were an estimated 313,000 threats of violence to British workers during the 12 months prior to the interviews, down 15 per cent from the previous year. Almost half of those affected (43 per cent) were repeat victims. A total of 6,078 injuries resulted from violence in the workplace, RIDDOR statistics showed. Those working in protective services, such as security guards, police and prison officers, were most at risk. But HSE notes care assistants, home care workers, teachers, nurses and drivers were also at a significantly increased risk. HSE points to BCS figures that suggest in over a third of assaults at work (35 per cent), the victim believed the offender was under the influence of alcohol and in a quarter of cases (25 per cent) under the influence of drugs. Two-thirds (66 per cent) of assaults on workers were perpetrated by a stranger, with the next highest grouping being clients or members of the public known through work (21 per cent). The BCS returned higher figures than RIDDOR for a number of reasons, says HSE, in part because not all injuries are reportable under RIDDOR and because of under-reporting by employers. HSE adds: 'Only physical injuries resulting from acts of violence suffered by people at work are included as reportable under RIDDOR. Therefore cases where a worker suffered shock from witnessing an act of threatening behaviour would not need to be reported.'

Violence at work: Violence at work statistics from the 2010/11 British Crime Survey & RIDDOR, HSE, January 2012 [pdf].

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