PCS defines violence at work in line with the HSE definition, namely:
'Any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work.'
An incident does not have to occur at the workplace for it to be defined as violence at work (or work-related violence) - it could happen anywhere, provided that there is a link to the victim's work. Even events that occur outside working hours could be linked to the victim's work and can therefore be classed as violence at work.
PCS believes that employers must not only address the management and prevention of violence at work but must also focus on their employees' perceptions of their vulnerability to violence - as this can be a major source of pressure on staff, if they feel unsafe at work.
The general risk assessment required by the 1999 Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations should include an assessment of risks of violence.
Employers should assess risks relating to lone working and travel to/from work outside of 'normal office hours'.
Use of the telephone to perpetrate violence must also be adequately addressed and controlled. In call centre situations it is also important to have systems that allow call handlers time to 'recover' from abusive or threatening calls.
The HSE have comprehensive guidance on addressing the risks of violence at work.
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