Work-related violence: Information for employers

Information to help employers identify and control the risk of work-related violence.

Work-related violence should never be seen as 'part of the job'

It is your responsibility to eliminate or reduce risk of work-related violence, so far as reasonably practicable.

Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (OHS Act) it is a legal requirement for employers to provide and maintain a safe and healthy working environment for their employees, so far as reasonably practicable. This includes the physical and psychological environments.

Leaders at all levels can have a powerful influence in developing a positive safety culture where priority is placed on the health, safety, and wellbeing of workers.

As a leader you should

Demonstrate a commitment to promoting a culture where violence and aggression is not accepted as 'part of the job'. Below is a list of examples in which you can help prevent and manage work-related violence:

  • set health and safety objectives and accountabilities
  • ensure effective health and safety systems are in place to identify and control risk
  • develop and promote health and safety policy and key initiatives
  • have clear policies and procedures for reporting
  • encourage reporting and act on these reports
  • investigate incidents and review risk control measures
  • consult and support employees
  • monitor and report on performance outcomes; act on issues and opportunities, and
  • ask questions about violence and aggression prevention systems in your workplace
  • identify risks of work-related violence in your work area
  • support worker development in de-escalation and processes for early intervention and management
  • allocate resources to prevention and management
  • promote a culture that does not accept work-related violence, and
  • seek assistance where necessary for you to do your part

Encourage workers to report incidents of work-related violence

Workers who have been affected by a work-related violence incident in the workplace may feel it's a waste of time reporting incidents because 'nothing will be done'.

It is critical to engage and provide training for your workers, so they know:

  • why they need to report incidents
  • the reporting policies and procedures at their workplace
  • they will be supported when they report
  • what will happen after they report, and the feedback they can expect to receive, and
  • their reporting has contributed to positive changes to reduce future risks