Business and Retail


Crime Prevention


Your Practical Guide To Crime Prevention – Business and Retail

Personal safety at work

Violence in the workplace covers a wide range of
behaviour, from threats and verbal abuse to intimidation
and physical assault. It may also include sexual or
racial harassment. It can be carried out by customers,
suppliers or colleagues.

Your employer has a legal duty to protect you from
violence and abuse while you are at work and should have
a policy for dealing with the risk of violence to staff.

You can help to reduce your personal risk by planning
strategies to deal with difficult situations before they

  • Check which aspects of your organisation’s policy
    on preventing work-related violence are relevant to
    you and your work.

  • Make sure you know which procedures to follow if
    a violent incident happens.

  • Be aware of risk factors and the possible causes
    of violence arising from the work you are doing

  • If you work alone, or away from your workplace,
    try to make sure someone knows where you are going
    and when you expect to come back.

  • You may feel safer carrying a mobile phone,
    personal alarm or pager.

If you find yourself in a situation that could turn

  • try to stay calm;

  • be aware of your own body language and the other

  • try to keep a safe distance and avoid physical
    contact if possible;

  • if you are cannot calm the situation down, call
    for help or look for opportunities to move away; and

  • report all incidents to your employer

For more information:

Ask your union representative for more information.

Contact the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which
publishes guidance for employers on how to prevent and
control violence at work. (HSE and local authority
inspectors are also responsible for inspecting and
enforcing health and safety in workplaces).

Phone the HSE information line on: 08701 545500 or visit
the HSE website


Last update:  16/09/03

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