Much has been written about violence towards lone workers; however, little attention has been given to the reporting behaviour of staff, especially lone working staff. The HSE state the following reasons why they don’t always report:
- they think violence is part of the job.
- they think reporting violence will make them look incompetent and just add to their stress.
- they don’t know how to record and report violence.
- recording and reporting procedures are time-consuming or too complicated.
- management don’t encourage them to record violence.
- they think that management or the police won’t take any action.
- they think the reputation of the business may be damaged.
- they are concerned about licence or insurance implications.
Why Reporting Violence at Work is Important
In some sectors or organisations reporting can be seen as unnecessary or stigmatising. For this reason, it is important to ensure that managers and employees understand why reporting of all types of abusive behaviour is necessary.
A robust reporting system is crucial for preventing violence at work. It will help establish measures that will protect employees in the future. While carrying out or reviewing risk assessments you should review past incidents. Risk assessments will only reflect an accurate picture when regular reporting is taking place. It will also help you identify trends, and plan for specific times of the year, days of the week, or common operational situations where violence and aggression to members of staff are more likely to occur.
Keep reporting simple
Violent and aggressive behaviours can be caused by many factors. The system should encourage employees to report all incidents. You need to create a simple reporting system that allows you to understand the factors that caused the incident. Consider using a Mobile Incident reporting App.
It is important to remember that when you implement effective lone worker training or improve your reporting system there might be an initial increase in the number of incidents being reported. Higher reported incident rates mean that employees are involved in the process, are aware of the dangers and are participating in protecting themselves and their colleagues at work.Low incident rates do not necessarily mean that good practice is being followed. It could mean that reporting is not happening regularly enough.
To encourage employees to report incidents you should:
- Have a robust and easy to use reporting system available to all
- Make staff aware of the reasons for reporting
- Give feedback on reports made
- Communicate the steps you are going to take to prevent reoccurrence of similar incidents
- Publish statistics of incidents per team or department and what it means for them
- Communicate resulting changes to risk assessments
- Communicate resulting changes to procedures or methods of working
- Communicate what help and support is available.
Information you should gather
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) suggests you gather the following information in a reporting form as a minimum.
- An account of what happened.
- The circumstances in which the incident took place.
- Details of the victim, the customer and anyone else involved.
- The outcome, including working time lost to the employee and organisation.
How we can help improve reporting in your organisation
CairAlert is a Mobile Reporting System that allows employees to report accidents and incidents of violence and aggression including near misses, from their mobile phone. The report is sent instantly to their manager and health and safety administrator simultaneously.