Personal Safety / Violence at Work
The University is committed to ensuring its staff, students, contractors and visitors can work, study and live in a safe and pleasant environment. As such, work continues to enhance the University environment, improving such things as lighting, path surfaces and providing additional CCTV. If however, a member of staff or student does feel threatened or unsafe when on the University Campus, both in buildings and in the grounds, they should contact University Security on:
01248 382795 (external)
ext 2795 (internal)
333 (Emergency Number)
The University's Security Team also have their own Website which can be found at Security Services which provides details of Security Lodges, general personal safety advice etc.
Violence at Work
The Health and Safety Executive and the University define work-related violence as any incident in which an employee is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances arising out of the course of their employment. This includes verbal abuse and threats, bullying and physical assault, whether or not it results in injury, and members of the public may include visitors, clients, patients, University employees or students.
The University is particularly concerned with eliminating all forms of harassment and bullying as it recognises that such behaviour is unacceptable, discriminatory and, in certain circumstances, also unlawful. Members of staff who are subjected to intimidation, bullying, aggression, victimisation, harassment etc should contact Human Resources or their Line Manager, who are all there to help.
Where there is a risk of violence due to work activities the relevant College or Department should assess these risks are, either through a separate dedicated risk assessment or by their Overview Risk Assessment, and proceed to control, reduce and/or mitigate that potential. This is normally undertaken in four stages:
- Stage 1 Finding out if you have a problem
- Stage 2 Deciding what action to take
- Stage 3 Take action
- Stage 4 Check what you have done
Controls could include:
- re-designing reception/office layouts,
- providing physical separation,
- pre-assess ‘clients’ who may pose an increased risk of violent behaviour,
- instruct staff in conflict avoidance techniques,
- introduce methods of accessing colleagues support speedily and even introduction of CCTV.
More detailed information is also provided by the European Social Partner Agreement Guidance, Preventing workplace harassment and violence. This document represents commitment to ensuring that the risk of encountering harassment or violence whilst at work are properly assessed and prevented or controlled.
Specialist assistance on assessing risk from violence is available from the Security section.
Risks whilst away from the University
From time to time the activities of staff and students whilst away from the University can put them at an increased risk of violence or abuse, this can be particularly so when undertaking social research with ‘risk groups’ or in ‘risk areas’. Each College and Department is required to consider the risk to staff and students when working away from the University itself and where there is a risk, to either re-construct the study/activity so as to avoid that risk or to implement suitable controls and mitigation to significantly reduce the likelihood and consequences of an incident.
What the law requires
There are five main pieces of health and safety law which are relevant to violence at work. These are:
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 (HSW Act) - Employers have a legal duty under this Act to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of their employees.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 - Employers must assess the risks to employees and make arrangements for their health and safety by effective: planning; organisation; control; monitoring and review. The risks covered should, where appropriate, include the need to protect employees from exposure to reasonably foreseeable violence.
- The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR) - Employers must notify their enforcing authority in the event of an accident at work to any employee resulting in death, major injury or incapacity for normal work for three or more consecutive days. This includes any act of non-consensual physical violence done to a person at work.
- Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 (a) and The Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996 (b) - Employers must inform, and consult with, employees in good time on matters relating to their health and safety. Employee representatives, either appointed by recognised trade unions under (a) or elected under (b) may make representations to their employer on matters affecting the health and safety of those they represent.
The HSE has also created a number of documents which provide useful information on controlling violence at work:
Support is available to staff exposed to such incidents whilst at work. Staff can access free, confidential counselling service. The University also has a number of trained Dignity Advisers who staff can contact for advice. Further information on these services is available on the Human Resources Website.
In addition, the University may offer legal support, if the nature of an incident warrants such action.