Health and Safety at Work Act
Employers have a legal duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health,safety and welfare at work of their employees.
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974
The Health and Safety at Work Act does not specify prescriptively what employers must do to control violence or any other particular risks; however it sets out a general framework within which employers should operate to manage health and safety.
Section 2 of the Act, sets out the wide ranging general duties of employers to their employees. It requires employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety and welfare at work of their employees. It further specifies some of the particular matters to which that duty extends, including:
- preparation of a written health and safety policy statement, including the organisation and arrangements for dealing with foreseeable risks;
- provision of a safe working environment;
- provision of safe systems of work;
- provision of information, instruction, training and supervision.
All of these matters are relevant to the management of the risk of violence.
Section 3 of the Act places a duty on employers to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, that people who are not employed by them, but who may be affected by the way they conduct their business, are not exposed to risks to their health or safety. This means that employers are required to control any risks of violence to people such as visitors, contractors, students and patients, if they arise from the work activity.
H&S Management Regulations
Employers must assess the risks to employees and make arrangements for their health and safety.
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992 (now amended 1999).
The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992 are aimed at improving health and safety management, and make more explicit what is required of employers under the Health and Safety at Work Act. They lay down a framework of duties requiring a systematic approach to the management of health and safety based on risk assessment. Such an approach must include the following elements:
- assessment of risks to the health and safety of employees and others to identify the preventive and protective measures required by law;
- arrangements for management, planning, organisation, control, monitoring and review of the measures identified in the assessment;
- appointment of competent people;
- provision of adequate health and safety training;
- provision of information for employees, for example on risks and preventive or protective measures
- setting up emergency procedures
The risks covered should, where appropriate, include the need to protect employees from exposure to reasonably foreseeable violence.
The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995
These regulations, which came into force on 1 April 1996, include a requirement to report some incidents of violence to employees.
They require employers to report to the enforcing authority any accident resulting in death, major injury, or incapacity for normal work for three days or more. In the healthcare sector the enforcing authority is usually HSE.
The definition of ‘accident’ includes any act of non-consensual physical violence done to a person at work. In the context of social care this can be interpreted as any physical assault on an employee, by service-user or others, which occurs whilst a person is at work, either in socialcare premises or in the community.
When any employee has suffered a major injury or is unable to do their normal work for three days or more, and the injury is as a result of an assault, the accident is reportable. In the case of an over-3-day injury the incapacity must arise from the physical injury and not be the result of a psychological reaction to the act of violence alone“”.”
There is no requirement to report violent incidents to patients, visitors or other members of the public.
Other Relevant Regulations
Employers must inform, and consult with, employees in good time on matters relating to their health and safety.
The Safety Representatives and Safety Committees Regulations 1977 (as amended)
A recognised trade union may appoint safety representatives to represent employees in consultation with employers. Employers are required to consult safety representatives ‘in good time’ over health and safety issues such as training, information and monitoring.
The Health and Safety (Consultation with Employees) Regulations 1996
Any employees not in groups covered by trade union safety representatives must be consulted by their employers on health and safety issues. The employer can choose to consult them directly or through elected representatives.
Employment Rights Act
Under this legislation, an employee has the right not to be penalised by their employer for taking actions to protect themselves or other persons.
Employment Rights Act 1996
This legislation is distinct from the HSAW Act, and is not enforced by the Health & Safety Executive. At the simplest, the relevant provisions can be expressed as ‘an employee has the right not to be penalised by his employer for taking actions to protect himself or other persons’, but more precisely:
“An employee has the right not to be subjected to any detriment by any act, or any deliberate failure to act, by his employer done on the ground that:i) in circumstances of danger which the employee reasonably believed to be serious and imminent and which he could not reasonably have been expected to avert, he left (or proposed to leave) or (while the danger persisted) refused to return to his place of work or any dangerous part of his place of work, orii) in circumstances of danger which the employee reasonably believed to be serious and imminent, he took (or proposed to take) appropriate steps to protect himself or other persons from the danger. (Section 44(1))”
1) Our approach to providing advice, training and consultancy in the management of conflict, personal safety and physical interventions (encompassing the Management and Prevention of Violence at Work) follows a three tier model as follows:
Primary Prevention: understanding the causes and triggers for challenging, risky or violent behaviour and attempting to change aspects of the environment in order to reduce the risk of their occurrence.
Secondary Prevention: selective interventions, mainly involving effective communication strategies which seek to prevent such situations, if they do occur, from escalating.
Tertiary Management: interventions, usually including some physical component, for mitigating and reducing risk if situations escalate to the point of violence or the possibility that serious harm or injury could occur.
Dynamis offers courses which cover all three phases of the model and which emphasise both Tier 1 and Tier 2 interventions wherever possible, in line with the wider movement towards Restraint Reduction Programmes.
2) All of the above activities must be carried out within a legal context (see left panel) which governs the behaviour of Directors, Managers and Staff in a given organisation, so the relevant legislation and national guidance must be referenced in regard to any interventions which are planned.
All Dynamis courses have a legal foundation which ensures their robust compliance with relevant legislation.
3) There is a clear responsibility – indeed a legal duty – on management of an organisation to ensure that hazards are the subject of properly-constructed risk-assessments to a suitable and sufficient standard and that the appropriate ‘reasonably practicable’ controls are put in place.
The 5-Step Risk Assessment Process
1) Look for the Hazards
2) Decide who might be harmed and how
3) Evaluate the Risks and the Controls
4) Record the Findings
5) Review the Assessment and Revise when Necessary
Dynamis offers clients our bespoke online Violence Risk Analysis tool which assists with this process.
4) Often, training is identified as a required Risk Control Measure. In order to properly design and deliver a relevant and appropriate Training Programme, the organisation should carry out a Training Needs Analysis which outlines the business outcomes which are being sought and identifies the learning outcomes which will best support those outcomes.
Dynamis offers clients our bespoke online Training Needs Analysis tool which assists with this process.
5) Once training needs are identified, then the relevant and appropriate Duration and Learning Outcomes of the training can be agreed upon and the training programme can be set in motion. Sometimes, a trial of the final training programme design can be useful to refine the programme for best results.
Dynamis Learning Outcomes are linked to the National Occupational Standards for the Management of Violence at Work
6) Training should be evaluated, both for its utility and effectiveness at the level of the staff receiving it, and also for its achievement of the stated goals identified during the Training Needs Analysis phase. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, including auditing and reporting on a frequent basis against agreed benchmarks.
Dynamis offers clients our bespoke online evaluation system which gathers data from attendees and managers in regards to the efficacy and goal-achievement of the training programme.