Background

Employers have a legal duty to protect their employees and anyone else potentially affected by their undertaking from work-related health and safety risks. This includes protecting people from non-consensual acts of violence, or abuse or threats that arise from, or in connection to, work.

Violence can impact an organisation negatively, making it difficult to recruit and retain staff, lowering morale & undermining the organisation’s public image. Violence can cause distress and pain to individuals.

People may have different responses to abuse & threats, with some suffering more anxiety than others.

Legislation

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974

The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999.

Scope

This policy is limited to incidences of non-consensual violence, abuse and threats arising out of, or in connection to work. Definitions This policy uses the Health & Safety Executive definition of violence; that is “any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances related to their work”.

Policy Statement

The University will manage its activities in such a way as to minimise the risk of employees and anyone else potentially affected being subjected to work-related violence or abuse or threatening behaviour.

  • The University takes a zero tolerance approach toward violence.

  • Risk assessments will be produced for all work activities which there is a reasonably foreseeable risk of violence and suitable control measures will be implemented in consultation with relevant staff.

  • Any incident involving threatening behaviour, verbal abuse or physical violence should be reported to UHSE using the accident reporting system.

  • Anyone acting in a physically violent way may be subject to security intervention, and possible criminal investigation depending on the type of incident and any injury caused.

  • Any member of staff acting in a threatening or physically abusive manner may be dealt with by their line manager in accordance with the University’s disciplinary procedures.

  • Contractors who initiate work related violence may be escorted off site and banned from future University contract work. The incident will be reported to UHSE and to the employing Contractor via the University’s contract manager.

Responsibilities

The Vice-Chancellor (VC)

has the overall day to day responsibility for health and safety matters at the University. The VC delegates responsibility for undertaking aspects of these duties through line management and identified roles. The following people are identified as having responsibilities (in addition to any other responsibilities under other health and safety policy) for the management of work-related violence risks in those areas, and for those relevant persons, that fall under their control:

Line Managers are responsible for making sure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that:

  • Suitable and sufficient risk assessments are carried out for all work activities where there is a risk of violence or abuse.

  • Risk assessments consider people who may be especially vulnerable to the risk of violence or abuse, such as young people or expectant or nursing mothers.

  • Suitable and sufficient control measures are put in place eliminate the risk of work related violence. Where this is not reasonably practicable, then control measures should reduce the risk of such issues to a tolerable level.

  • Suitable training, instruction and supervision is provided for employees believed to be at risk of work related violence.

  • Arrangements are put in place to monitor the effectiveness of risk assessments and any associated control measures including any instruction, training and supervision.

  • Further advice is sought from Human Resources in respect of disciplinary action for any staff initiated violence or aggression.

Employees are responsible for:

  • Reporting any incidents of work-related violence, that they either experience or witness, to their line manager.

  • Not doing anything which purposefully may inflame a potentially abusive situation.

  • Following any instruction or training given in relation to work related violence and will, as far as reasonably practicable, conduct themselves in a manner so as not to escalate any incident of work related violence.

Students are responsible for:

  • Not doing anything which may inflame a potentially abusive situation

  • Following any instruction or training given intended to reduce the risk of violence or protect their wellbeing.

University Contract Managers:

  • Will make it clear within contract specifications and induction training that violent or aggressive behaviour will not be tolerated.

  • Will ensure that any incident involving violence or aggression which involves an employee of a Contractor is reported to UHSE via the incident reporting system and to the employing contractor for further action as necessary.