Workplace attacks by customers and patients – what causes them?

The circumstances and reasons behind each verbal or physical attack are different. As a result, even if an employer takes every reasonably practicable step to prevent a worker becoming a victim of assault in the workplace, safety is never guaranteed. Sadly though, some employers do not take the measures needed to reduce the risk of employees becoming injured in an attack from a client, customer or patient and workers are therefore put in significant danger.

Below are some examples of common causes of assaults which employers can do nothing about:

• The attacker resorting to violence following a negative experience in their day which was unrelated to the company

• The attacker being high on drugs (1 in 4 of all actual assaults and 1 in 5 of all violent threats)

• The attacker being drunk (1 in 3 actual assaults and 3 in 10 violent assaults)

Below are common causes of assault which employers could and should make provisions for:

• Surroundings: it is important that the layout of the workplace encourages safety. Inadequate lighting, the absence of CCTV cameras, a lack of security locks and unsecured counters could all make attacks more likely

• A failure to train staff: staff should be taught how to identify early signs of hostility and be told how to calm the assailant down. Staff also need to be shown how to use security and safety equipment such as panic buttons

• Conveying the wrong attitude or body language towards customers, clients or patients can encourage aggression

• Failing to keep customers, clients and patients informed can also lead to aggression. For example, if they have been kept waiting, they will want to know why and how long it will be before they are seen.

It should be noted that there are very few instances of violent attacks on staff by customers, clients or patients either of a physical or verbal nature. According to the British Crime Survey, just 1.5% of UK workers suffer such violence. Nevertheless, employers must fulfil their legal duties.

Have you been attacked in the workplace? The Work Accident Solicitors could help you claim compensation

If your employer failed to protect your health and safety in the workplace leading you to sustain an injury in an assault by a customer, client or patient, you deserve compensation. Our Work  Related Accident Lawyers are  here to help you win deserved compensation, so:

Call us today on 0808 901 9069, or

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