Aggression in the workplace - learn how to deal with it

08 March, 2017

Keeping your workers safe is paramount so training staff on how to deal with violent and aggressive customers can equip them with the skills to diffuse a potentially violent situation.

Workplace violence and aggression is not part of any job and these incidents can and do have physical or psychological harm to your workers.

As an employer you have an obligation to your workers to provide a safe working environment and this includes managing the risk from violence and aggression.

Violent or aggressive incidents do not usually ‘just happen’ they often follow a pattern of escalating aggression which can start with annoyance then a raised voice and soon verbal threats or physical gestured followed by actual physical violence.

If you’ve identified that your workers are exposed to violence and aggression in your workplace, you need to do something about it firstly to reduce the likelihood of it happening, and secondly, if it does, to reduce the health effects from the event.

There are many ways to firstly reduce the likelihood – these can be anything from removing the incentives for violence and aggression by minimising medications and valuables, changing client contact arrangements to provide services over the phone instead of in person, or even providing reading material in a comfortable environment if clients have to wait.

To reduce the consequence train your staff in de-escalation techniques.

Having the right person with the right communication skills is the most effective control.

Take the employee to a safe place to retreat, provide duress alarms, and provide debriefing or counselling after an incident -- these are all ways to reduce the detrimental effects from violent and aggressive behaviour.