Workplace violence encompasses everything from a robbery to bullying, from verbal abuse to physical injuries.
No workplace is immune to violence, but sadly working in Retail represents an ever-growing risk, both to you and your staff.
Why does Retail represent such a heightened risk?
Dealing with customers face-to-face where you are often selling valuable goods and receiving money can make a shop an easy target for thieves, some of the increased risks include:
- Handling cash
- Night-time shifts or finishing shifts after dark
- Presence of valuable goods or merchandise
- Lack of people around
- Poor visibility
- Easy escape
While most business owners will take steps to maintain a violence-free workplace, help keep yourself and co-workers stay safe by educating yourself about risk, being proactive and following the guidelines outlined in our Workplace Violence Prevention Programme.
Identifying Your Risk
As an employer, you have a duty of care to protect your employees against accident or injury at work.
Your Shop Insurance package will typically include Employers Liability Insurance as standard, and this will deal with your specific legal obligations and liabilities.
However, we would always suggest you review your own cover with your Insurance Advisor.
Workplace violence can be divided into four general categories:
- Pure criminal intent (i.e., theft)
- Client/customer incidents, which generally occur when a customer acts out violently towards an employee
- Worker to worker incidents stemming from work-related disputes, often involving managers or supervisors
- Domestic violence-related incidents, sometimes perpetrated through telephone calls and emails
Violence can happen at any time and can include actions or words that endanger or harm you, including:
- Written, verbal or physical harassment
- Written, verbal or physical threats
- Assaults or other violence
- Any other behaviour that causes you to feel unsafe (i.e., bullying or sexual harassment)
How can you Stay Safe?
Nothing can guarantee that you will not become a victim of workplace violence, but you do have the right to expect a workplace that promotes safety from violence, threats and harassment.
Contribute to the safety measures we have in place by taking the following steps:
- Take all threats seriously, without exception.
- In a retail setting, greet all customers, move around the store and lock the back doors.
- Be aware of and report strange behaviour, i.e., individuals frequently loitering near the premises.
- Know contact information for local police for quick access in the event of violence.
- Be aware of and report any stalking behaviour of an employee by an outsider or co-worker.
- Learn how to avoid, defuse and de-escalate potentially violent situations by attending personal safety training programmes.
- Carpool with others on your shift, so you arrive and depart together.
- Alert supervisors to any concerns about safety or security.
- Report all incidents immediately in writing.
Stay alert and aware. Make sure you are effectively trained in conflict resolution and how to handle a potentially dangerous situation.
Adhere to policies and cooperate with your manager to avoid a potentially violent situation.
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