Work-related violence is generally any incident in which someone is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances relating to their work.
Violence is a threat of harm (that can include psychological acts) that is enacted. In a work context it is the most extreme form of unacceptable behaviour. It covers a broad range of behaviours that can create a risk to the health and safety of workers.
- throwing objects
- pushing, shoving, tripping, grabbing
- striking, kicking, scratching, biting, spitting or any other physical contact
- attacking with knives, guns, clubs or any other type of weapon.
Workers can be exposed to work-related violence from a range of sources, which can be organisational, client-related or opportunistic. These can include clients, customers, patients, people in custody and members of the public.
How to prevent and respond to work-related violence
The foundation for managing risks resulting in psychological injuries at an organisational level is to manage work-related stress.
Practical solutions to managing work-related violence can be found in the Preventing and responding to work-related violence guide. The guide outlines PCBU and worker obligations explained in a risk management framework. it also provides information on managing client-related and opportunistic violence by providing deterrents such as removing motivations and incentives, providing physical barriers and security sensor systems, and designing service delivery solutions.
Violence or threats of violence
Work-related violence can fall within the scope of various state and federal laws. Physical assault, robbery, sexual assault and threats to harm someone should be referred to NSW Police.
Safe Work Australia has guidance material to help you manage the risks, especially while managing cash in transit.
Cash-in-transit specific information includes:
- the General guide for managing cash-in-transit security risks, which provides information for PCBUs on how to manage cash-in-transit security risks, usually involving armoured or non-armoured vehicle operations
- the Cash-in-transit information sheet, which provides advice for small businesses on managing risks from cash-in-transit activities
- the Guide for handling and transporting cash is directed at businesses handling or transporting cash 'in-house', for example where a worker or business owner transports cash from the workplace to a bank, rather than engaging a security provider for these services.