Handling Conflict

Posted in conflict resolution, current affairs, managing violence & aggression on February 21st, 2012 by Chris – Be the first to comment

Consequences of  failing to provide Conflict Management training:

Five things you need to know about handling conflict in the workplace if you want to protect your staff and avoid an expensive prosecution and adverse publicity.

A recent Magistrates Court prosecution brought by the Health and Safety Executive last month (January 2012) demonstrates the costs for organisations which fail to invest in training aimed at addressing work place violence, refer to article below.

Social care workers exposed to violence and aggression

A social care organisation has been fined for exposing workers to the risk of violence and aggression.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) launched an investigation at Dimensions (UK) Ltd, a not-for-profit organisation that provides support services for people with learning disabilities, after a support worker was kicked in the eye by a client on 31 December 2009.
The investigation revealed that between March 2009 and December 2010, Dimensions did not have adequate processes in place to control the risk of workers being exposed to violence and aggression.

Dimensions (UK) Ltd, in Reading, was fined a total of £14,000 and ordered to pay £30,000 in costs after pleading guilty to breaching Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974.

So how can organisations be sure they are compliant with current Health & Safety legislation?

1. To comply with current Health & Safety legislation employers must carry out a Risk Assessment and have Policies & Procedures in place to address potential workplace violence.

2. The risk assessment must be carried out by a competent person. In reality this is usually carried out by individual/individuals who have personal knowledge with the working practices and any potential high risk duties that employees are responsible for carrying out.

3. Policies and Procedures must be put in place with control measures to address the identified issues to reduce risk as far as is practical.

4. If training issues are identified e.g. the need for Personal Safety, Conflict resolution/Management, Breakaway Skills or Physical Intervention Skills training this must be addressed.

5. A system/ procedure for recording Critical Incidents must be put into place.
Continual assessment must take place to establish that the policies and training are having the desired effect in reducing incidents of workplace violence.
Staff must be encouraged to complete a critical incident form for every incident even if the incident appears trivial or it was a near miss.

These reports must be reviewed on a regular basis and further control measures should be put in place if ongoing issues are identified.

Should an incident occur which results a serious to an employee the enforcing government body the Health & Safety Executive will be checking that the above criterion has been adhered to?
Failure to address any of the five above stages will normally result in a prosecution.

As can be seen from the above prosecution failure to invest in Conflict Management training can be costly for an organisation and lead to bad/adverse publicity.

During the trial at Newcastle Magistrates Court particular reference was made to the fact that due to lack of training the employee was not able to recognise the triggers which precede a violent assault and that no control measures had been put into place after previous incidents and near misses.

Sources: Workplace Law  http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2012/coi-ne-00812.htm

Here at Brooks Jordan training services we are finding that more and more organisations are now sending their staff on Personal Safety, Conflict Management and Physical Intervention training courses even before they actually take up their current employment duties which will obviously give them and their staff much greater protection.

This is actually mandatory now in many organisations e.g. the Security Industry.
Prior to commencing employment as a door supervisor or event steward employees will need to attend an accredited level 2 award (City & Guilds 1884 Conflict Resolution or equivalent).

For more information about training in Workplace Violence. Personal Safety, & Conflict Management visit our web site: www.brooksjordan.co.uk

Conflict Management in the workplace

Posted in conflict resolution, managing violence & aggression on January 28th, 2012 by Chris – 3 Comments

There are many causes of workplace conflict & there are few organisations that do not experience this at some time or other.

Causes include poor management, individual anger management problems, stress possibly due to a bad working environment or problems at home this list is not exhaustive.

Below is an example of the tragic consequences of stress/conflict in the workplace not being addressed.

Teacher arrested on suspicion of attempted murder
Pupil allegedly hit with a dumbbell.

Teacher Peter Harvey not guilty over dumbbell assault on pupil
A teacher who beat a boy’s head with a dumbbell while shouting “die, die, die” walked free from court yesterday after being cleared of attempted murder because he was mentally unwell and had been tormented by the pupil.
In a case that raised doubts about whether there was sufficient help available for stressed teachers struggling with disruptive children, Peter Harvey, 50, was cleared after the jury deliberated for little more than an hour. He was also cleared of grievous bodily harm with intent.
You can read the full story here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/jul/09/teacher-arrested-mansfield
Peter Harvey did not go into work on that particular day with the intention of attacking a pupil with a set of dumbbells that would be totally illogical, but when adrenalin kicks in logic goes out the window.
For an assault such as this to take place a person first needs to be triggered
Road rage is a good example of this the trigger normally being someone cutting you up.
This sends a message to the brain that danger is imminent and chemicals are released at the speed of Concorde as we enter into the flight or fight mode.
Peter Harvey did not need to be triggered on that particular day he was already triggered from previous encounters with certain pupils who had been constantly baiting him and he was entering the next stage on the “Assault Cycle” Escalation which led to the Crisis stage where the attack took place.
Could Conflict Resolution/Management training have prevent this
One of the elements contained in conflict resolution training is Non verbal communication, we can-not not communicate identifying the early Warning and Danger signs are the key to prevention in cases such as this.
Stress is a major contributor to conflict and conflict increases at particular times of the year.
We have just got to the end of another year and listening to the news as I was writing this article I was saddened to hear that there had been at least one death each and every day through the festive session in the UK alone that was caused through some kind of conflict.
The world would be a better/safer place to live if conflict was identified (in others & self) and dealt with in the early stages and this can only be achieved with training.
Brooks Jordan work with schools throughout the UK to provide Conflict Resolution to teenagers to prepare them for the challengers they will encounter as they move into the adult world and we wonder is it not now the time to have this training as part of the national curriculum .

For information about the training provided by Brooks Jordan please go to: www.brooksjordan.co.uk

Or contact Chris email address: chris@brooksjordan.co.uk or telephone on 01623 407793

Conflict Resolution training

Posted in conflict resolution, managing violence & aggression on December 28th, 2011 by Chris – Be the first to comment

What is Conflict Resolution or as it is sometimes called Conflict Management training?

Conflict Resolution/Management training courses often cover a wide area.

The training usually contains elements of Personal Safety/Lone Working and managing difficult/potentially violent individuals.

Conflict Resolution training can also include Disengagement, Breakaway Skills and even Physical Intervention training, e.g. the new door supervisors training course now includes both Breakaway Skills training & Physical Intervention training which are nationally accredited and fully endorsed by both the SIA and Skills for Security.

However the security industry, the medical profession and law enforcement agencies all agree that Physical Intervention should always be the last resort and only considered when all other options have failed.

The starting point prior to training in conflict resolution is to find out what issues the contracting organisation is experiencing and the initial assessment should include a full training needs analysis.

This will allow the course designers to prepared relevant work related scenarios for delegates to work with during the training.

Communication skills need to be explored and delegates need to be able to use the relevant Communication skill tools to practice diffusion techniques when working through their work related scenarios.

Delegates also need to able to identify different types of conflict that they may experience which can be divided into three broad areas as follows.

  • Conflict in the work place: e.g. conflict with colleagues, management, work place bullying etc.
  • Conflict with service users: individuals whom the engage with outside their own organisation.
  • Conflict within ourselves: Anger management issues.

All three elements can often be found in one organisation and if not managed this can have a devastating effect on staff morale and in the worst case scenario even bring down an entire organisation.

There are many reasons for conflict in the work place and the conflict needs to be identified and dealt with swiftly before it escalates into something far more serious.

Training in this area is far more difficult than in the other two categories.

The training needs analysis will often identify numerous training issues and different training needs, e.g. one to one training (anger management issues), Individual group work, and whole group participation.

The training will need to be delivered by highly qualified and experienced trainers.

Qualifications should include a general teacher/trainer qualification (Ptlls) or an equivalent qualification. A qualification in communication skills, e.g. NLP or TA (ideally both), and finally a recognised Conflict Resolution qualification such as the level 3 award in Conflict management.

Trainers need also to have personal experience of dealing with conflict and ideally have considerable counselling skills.

In my January 2012 blog I will be identifying the causers of workplace conflict and how to address these to create a better working environment for staff and management alike.

For information about conflict resolution training go to our web site: www.brooksjordan.co.uk or email Chris @brooksjordan.co.uk

Personal Safety when travelling and avoiding car-jacking.

Posted in personal safety on November 3rd, 2011 by Chris – 7 Comments

Lone female being approached in her car

Personal safety in vehicle

Car Safety

Fact – we are now much safer in our homes. Modern alarms and double-glazing make breaking into your home far more difficult for would-be burglars. The same is true of cars – modern vehicles are harder to steal.

So what do criminals need to get into your house or car…?

Answer: Your  keys, which is one reason why street crime has recently increased. To avoid falling victim we need to be more aware of our surroundings when we are out and about.

The following message is an example of one person’s bad experience that they wanted to share with others.
“If you’re anything like me, your usual driving practice is to get straight into the car, lock it and start the engine ready to drive off. You then use your rear view mirror to check the coast is clear before you reverse out of your parking space. It’s at this moment that you spot the piece of paper under the rear windscreen wiper.


Someone just behind you or in the next car or hidden nearby is just waiting for the moment you get out of your car to check the note they left.
And once you do that…..
It only takes a second for the car thief to jump in and steal your car – and where are your mobile phone and purse? In your handbag on the passenger seat, so they’ve been stolen too. Take my advice – just ignore the piece of paper – drive away and when you’re in a safe location, then stop and get out to see what it is.”

Lone female returning to a vehicle
But it could be worse than car jacking – supposing its you rather than the car the assailant wants.
Do you advertise the fact that you are a woman driver? Or worse still that you are a single woman driver? Do you advertise to a would-be assailant what time you will be collecting your car? – No? Well how many of us leave our driving shoes in the passenger foot well when we go for a night out in town? Or put a parking ticket in the windscreen showing what time we have to be back by, or have the parcel shelf packed full of cuddly toys?
It’s a fact that we feel comfortable and cocooned in our cars and so we personalise them. Think about the evidence you leave in your car which might make you vulnerable to being identified. Then think about what you might leave in your car which would throw an attacker off the scent such as a motorbike magazine, a construction worker’s hat on the parcel shelf – or just leaving your car devoid of anything.
And supposing someone did get in to your passenger seat, what would you do?

Well the obvious answer is to get out if you can, but this may not be possible, e.g. you have your child strapped in the back of the car or the potential attacker prevents you by placing his hand over the seat belt release, or the environment is a potentially dangerous one anyway.

In situations such as this remember nothing is too much trouble for your personal safety, all you need to do at the first possible opportunity is have a minor accident. All you need to do is to drive into the car in front. Try to do this when you are in slow or a near stationary traffic queue so the person in front has to get out to see what has happened. Now you will be going home to your family rather than driving yourself to a crime scene. Don’t go mad here just 3-4 miles an hour will do just to get the attention of the other driver. Do you think your potential attacker is going to hang around whilst you exchange insurance details?

Please help us get the message out by forwarding this information to your friends and relatives now

Brooks Jordan often give high impact talks and after dinner presentations to women’s groups on this and other Personal Safety/Conflict Resolution issues.
If you have had a bad experience or a lucky escape and would like to share your experience with others, then please email us at Julie@brooksjordan.co.uk
Want more information then visit our web site www.brooksjordan.co.uk
If you would like an entertaining talk for your organization on the subject of personal safety, travel or any other personal safety/conflict management specific issues then please contact us at chris@brooksjordan.co.uk or just give us a call on 01623 407793

Conflict Resolution/Management training for teenagers

Posted in conflict resolution, personal safety on August 17th, 2011 by Chris – 3 Comments

What is Conflict Resolution?

Conflict resolution is a general term often used to describe personal safety & managing violence/aggression training courses.

Do teenagers need conflict resolution/conflict management skills?

The answer is most definitely Yes

The facts: The most vulnerable members of society in the UK and many other countries are young men between the ages of 15 and 24.

Anger and aggression is a part of our every day life.  While as individuals our anger may be justifiable – who does not feel anger when they hear about the big payouts made to bankers, or cuts to public spending which will affect their quality of life..  But what people don’t have a right to be is hostile and abusive towards others.  Understanding what is acceptable and what is not is the key to managing anger successfully and avoiding aggression.

Brooks Jordan has been providing Personal Safety & Conflict Management training courses to both independent and state sector schools for over 15 years and the fact that we are called back year after year to repeat this training is testimony to the effectiveness of our personal safety programme for schools.

Do teenage girls need Conflict Management skills?  Again definitely – Yes.  Although young women are less disposed to physical aggression than young men the risk for women is always greater in a male to female confrontation, due to the imbalance in strength between men and women.  Hence for young women the risks are in relation to their personal safety, rather than girl on girl physical aggression.  Here avoidance and remaining alert to potential dangers are of greater importance than the risk of conflict or confrontation between women.   Nevertheless young women will be going out with young men and in groups so could easily be drawn into a conflict situation where conflict resolution skills could prevent a hostile encounter from escalating.

For these reasons Brooks Jordan’s Personal Safety Awareness for Students programme is specifically tailored to meet the needs of teenagers, men or women, heading off to college, university or further education in cities they will be unfamiliar with.  For the majority of young people this will the first time they have left the safety of their own home and family to experience the excitement and freedom of independent living.  Few will truly appreciate the risks they may face nor the realise how potentially more hostile their new environment in some of the big cities such as London, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham or Nottingham may be.  This is often quite a culture shock for students bought up in rural or less confrontational parts of the UK.

Have a look at our short videos on our training by following this link: http://vimeo.com/8153966

Just ring us on (01623) 407793 and ask to speak to Julie for more information about this essential training for students.

Brooks Jordan chosen to deliver ‘Independence Day’ training for St Bede’s School East Sussex

Posted in conflict resolution, managing violence & aggression, personal safety, physical skills on February 21st, 2011 by Chris – Be the first to comment

Brooks Jordan is working with St Bede’s School in East Sussex to deliver personal safety training to students preparing to leave school for a gap year or to go to university.

When St Bede’s first approached Brooks Jordan they asked for breakaway skills training for their year 11 pupils but after the first booking, Senior Tutor Coranne Laws booked an additional date with managing violence & aggression trainers Chris Jordan and his team of experts for sixth formers.  Coranne commented,

‘We booked Brooks Jordan as part of a scheduled Personal Safety Day for year 11 students with the aim of preparing our students for the potential risks associated with the greater freedom and autonomy they begin to experience as they move into adulthood. We were looking to provide our students with some practical advice and techniques to enable them to avoid and manage possible threats to their personal safety when in the community, particularly in the evenings.’

Coranne went on to explain why St Bede’s had found Brooks Jordan’s training so useful;

‘The year 11 sessions were very successful, student feedback was positive and supervising staff supported the view that the Brooks Jordan sessions were excellent. Students were taught to understand aggressive body language and how to use their own body language to de-escalate potentially aggressive situations. Following this success we decided to book them again to train year 13 students, this time focusing specifically on preparing students for moving away to University. The trainers shared their knowledge of crimes commonly committed against students and gave advice to enable them to avoid common pitfalls.

Our 6th formers appreciated the opportunity to discuss strategies and techniques and found the chance to practice breakaway techniques both enjoyable and empowering.’

Director Chris Jordan commented:

‘The training is about raising awareness, getting young people to consider potential risks and to plan ahead.  It’s also about looking out for each other when socialising – what might be regarded in police parlance as ‘target hardening.’

We’re delighted that St Bede’s School has chosen Brooks Jordan to deliver personal safety training to its pupils. The school is pleased with our work and we look forward to working with them for many years to come.

Council staff attack figure shock –Report by Natalie Crockett 27 December 2010

Posted in current affairs, Uncategorized on January 13th, 2011 by Chris – 1 Comment

A Teacher who was stabbed in the chest with a pen by a pupil is one of more than 600 recorded attacks on Gwent council staff in the past two years.
Figures released under the Freedom of Information Act show 632 recorded physical attacks on members of staff across the five Gwent councils including Newport, Monmouthshire, Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly.
Many of the attacks were on teachers, but there was no breakdown of the exact figures for the attacks on them.
Physical attacks ranged from head butts, punches, bites and kicks, mainly carried out by pupils towards teachers, the worst of which involved a teacher being stabbed in the chest with a pen by a pupil.
Dominic MacAskill, head of local government at public sector union UNISON said councils needed to continue working with the trade unions to put in place better health and safety protocols to protect front line workers and ensure that incidents were minimised.
He added: “Health and safety of public servants cannot be compromised even in this age of austerity.”
All the local authorities told the Argus violence or threats to their staff was unacceptable and staff safety is seen as of paramount importance.
Read More about attacks on Local government staff at: http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/8758800.Council_staff_attack_figure_shock/
Protecting Council employees from attacks of Violence & Aggression
Shock at attacks on council’s staff

Northampton Chronicle 03.Jan 2011

Members of the public were violent or aggressive towards staff from Northampton Borough Council more than 80 times in the past 20 months, latest figures have revealed.
The statistics, which have been obtained by the Chronicle & Echo using the Freedom of Information Act, show that between April 2009 and December 2010, a total of 86 reports of violence or aggression against council staff were recorded.
In response, the council banned six members of the public from entering council offices and one person was given an ASBO.
Read more about attacks on council staff at:
Attacks on council staff are revealed by the Journal Jan 4 2011
More than 1,500 council workers a year are attacked in the North East, new figures reveal. On average more than five members of staff, including traffic wardens, teachers and care workers, are physically or verbally attacked in the North East every day.
And union leaders have raised fears that attacks could become more common as the public feels the pressure of the recession and council cuts lead to fewer staff on the job.
There were 5,019 attacks across the councils between the start of 2008 and October this year.
The information includes workers from all departments of councils. Attacks include physical violence, threats racist abuse and sexual assault.
Members of staff were stabbed, punched, kicked, bitten and hit by thrown objects.
Many of the attacks were carried out by children in care or adults with care needs, others by members of the public.
Although asked for the information by The Journal, in many cases councils were not able to say whether arrests had been made or charges brought.
Among the many attacks on teachers was a member of staff whose nose was broken by a pupil in an attack in 2009.
In Northumberland in June 2009, a worker in a children’s home was head-butted in the mouth, causing a split gum, while a colleague was slapped by the same resident.
“There’s a danger that these types of incidents increase, as increased unemployment and poverty inevitably results in increased violence. We feel some of our workers will be more exposed as a result.

Read More about these assaults on Council staff and teachers at: http://www.journallive.co.uk/north-east-news/todays-news/2011/01/04/attacks-on-council-staff-are-revealed-61634-27929740/#ixzz1AYfNvGSk

200 attacks on Town Hall staff By: Terry Kelly South Shield Gazette 8 Jan 2011
Over 200 council workers in South Tyneside have been physically attacked over the last three years, new figures have revealed.
A senior councillor today condemned those assaulting staff and called for the courts to punish those responsible.

Many of the incidents involved care cases, but council bosses said they are taking a “zero tolerance” stance to the problem and aim to protect all their employees from physical and verbal attacks.

Other figures reveal that more than 1,500 council workers are attacked across North East England every year, with the total number over the last three years amounting to 5,019 attacks.

The safety and wellbeing of our staff is of paramount importance and we have robust policies, procedures and training sessions covering violence at work, lone working and personal safety.

“It is important to note that a large proportion of these incidents occurred as part of the care services the council provides, which are often to people with challenging behaviours.”

Read full sorry the attacks on town hall staff at:

Brooks Jordan response to violence and aggression towards Council workers
Addressing Personal safety/Conflict Resolution issues for Council employees
People have a right to be angry especially in the current economic climate.
Current cuts in Local Authority spending are causing anger to many people (including Council workers) and most people put the blame for this squarely on the Banking Industry see article below:
New poll reveals depth of outrage at bankers’ bonuses
Report by: Anushka Asthana, the Observer

Three in four think banks are still not properly regulated and want payout cap

Public outrage at bankers’ bonuses is revealed in a poll that finds wide support for a cap on payouts and tighter regulation of financial institutions.
A YouGov poll reveals the extent of public anger at City excess. It finds that 76% of people would support a cap on bonuses, that 59% support windfall taxes on bankers’ bonuses, and that 60% want the tax to be extended to those working in hedge funds and ¬private equity houses.
Politicians said today’s polling showed the true extent of public anger and revealed support for “wholesale reform” of the financial sector. Jon Cruddas, Labour MP for Dagenham, called on the government to bring in the reforms. “It is popular and it is the right thing to do,” he said.
Ruth Lea, economic adviser to the Arbuthnot Banking Group, said it was little surprise that the public was unsympathetic to the banks. She said that workers in Redcar in the north-east, where the local steelworks are being mothballed, were furious that so much was spent saving the banks. The “sense of unfairness hits you between the eyes”, she added.
Read full article at:
There’s a risk that health and safety risk assessments and Personal Safety /Conflict Management training will come under pressure with the cuts that are taking place
For instance where there needs to be two staff going out on home visits or trade inspections inspections, with the scale of the cuts there’s a worry there will be less commitment and emphasis on this resulting in a return to more Lone working.
As previously stated people have every right to be angry, but do not have a right to be hostile, abusive or behave violently.
Research by the NHS security Management as shown that good Conflict Resolution training can dramatically reduce the instances of violence against their staff and the introduction of their National Syllabus on this.
For more information on this go to:

Local Authorities have now even more responsibility to protect their staff with the introduction of the Equalities Act 2010.
• Harassment: behaviour deemed offensive by the recipient. Employees can claim they find something offensive even when it’s not directed at them.
• Harassment by a third party: employers are potentially liable for the harassment of staff or customers by people they don’t directly employ, such as a contractor.
Under this legislation Harassment is defined as any incident which occurs more than once and the Harassment does not have to be committed by the same person.
So if an employee is subjected to some form of Harassment and the employer fails to put into place some form of control measure after they become aware of this they could be in breach of this legislation.
There is now also the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

This new legislations enables enforcement agencies to hold Chief Executives & Managing Directors responsible for gross negligence if they fail to protect their staff and the first prosecution under this legislation is soon to come before the courts.
For details go to: http://www.healthandsafetytips.co.uk/Articles/Corporate_Manslaughter_The_First_Case.htm
For more details of Personal Safety & Lone Working training go to: www.brooksjordan.co.uk
For current training courses on:
Personal Safety, Conflict Resolution/Management, Physical Intervention Techniques & other relevant training courses go to: www.brooks-jordan.com or www. brooksjordan.co.uk

Teachers to be given training in Personal Safety, Conflict Resolution & Self-defence.

Posted in conflict resolution, current affairs, managing violence & aggression, personal safety on January 8th, 2011 by Chris – Be the first to comment

Teachers are to receive self-defence lessons to protect themselves from violent pupils
Teachers will be taught techniques to restrain violent pupils safely and also how to defuse threatening situations.
The aim is to protect teachers and cut the growing number of staff accused of assaulting pupils.
Teachers from primary, secondary and special schools will be trained in the techniques and will pass them onto colleagues.
Schools in Powys, Mid Wales will be the first to try out the special training.
False accusations of assault have blighted the careers of many teachers.
Read full story @: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-64702/Teachers-given-self-defence-lessons.html#ixzz1ASj0mNUx

See recent case in Nottinghamshire
Teacher arrested on suspicion of attempted murder
• Pupil allegedly hit with weight from set of scales
• Science master questioned over two other incidents

Teacher Peter Harvey not guilty over dumbbell assault on pupil
A teacher who beat a boy’s head with a dumbbell while shouting “die, die, die” walked free from court yesterday after being cleared of attempted murder because he was mentally unwell and had been tormented by the pupil.
In a case that raised doubts about whether there was sufficient help available for stressed teachers struggling with disruptive children, Peter Harvey, 50, was cleared after the jury deliberated for little more than an hour. He was also cleared of grievous bodily harm with intent.
Read full story@http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/crime/article7111814.ece
For more information about Self-defence training for schools visit: www.brooksjordan.co.uk

Risk Assessment & Dynamic Risk Assessments for the protection of lone workers.

Posted in conflict resolution, managing violence & aggression, personal safety, street survival tips, Uncategorized on December 28th, 2010 by Chris – 2 Comments

Employers are by required by Health & Safety legislation and other supporting legislation to assess the risk of violence as they would any other workplace related potential hazard. This is the beginning or staring point of an objective process that includes control measures; included in this is training.
As well as assessing the risk regarding violence in the context of health and safety,
organisations must assess risk in the context of the services provided and consider all relevant related legislation and guidelines. The threat of violence must be mitigated as far as possible

There are two main types of risk assessment to assess the risk of violence
(1) Pre-Planned (2) unplanned normally referred to as Dynamic Risk Assessment

(1) Planned Assessment (carried out prior to duties being performed)
A planned assessment should be undertaken and reviewed at set intervals in accordance with the organisations policies on risk assessments by designated individuals. It is important that employers clearly set out who is responsible and what level of assessment is required, how and when these should be carried out.

Recording systems and tools need to be identified to support the process and they
must be effective in identifying and distributing key information to management and all relevant staff in relation to the risks of violence and where necessary should be evidence based.

Any need for further improvements, control measures or risk assessments should be recorded and the necessary time schedules for this recorded.
It is also essential to analyse reported incidents including any near misses, and to identify common events and how often they occur.

Planned (static) risk assessments, must include the following:

 All Incident reports including near misses and threats & trends
 Policies/procedures and role expectations
 Environmental/situational risk factors
 Tasks activities & any high risk duties performed by the staff etc
 The Root causes behind the event and any other relevant information
 Service user and any other bystanders considerations.

One of the UK’s top Health & Safety litigation barristers uses just 4 questions when deciding if there is a case to answer:

(1) Could the risk have been foreseen ?
(2) Where policies & Procedure put in place ?
(3) Were training needs identified and carried out ?
(4) Did the staff respond as they had been trained too ?

If a negative answer is given to any of the above then someone is liable and litigation will follow.

Dynamic risk assessment (carried out whilst performing duties)

A situations can develop suddenly usually by unexpected circumstances and an accurate dynamic situational risk assessment may have to be conducted on the spot.
Staff in these circumstances need to act in a way that they could legally & morally justify
They will need to make an immediate assessment of the situation and may have to employ escape tactics.
This is why good personal safety training is important staff should have been trained and provided with the necessary tools to make a safe retreat.
Research as established that when violence as occurred it was established that it was the individual staff members response that escalated the situation.

Example of a pre-planned & dynamic risk assessment

An health visitor is requested to make an home visit on an elderly lady (Lone working situation)

A planned risk assessment is carried out which identifies the following:

The lady is in her eighties and lives alone in a respectable rural county village
A check with on the critical incident register identifies no previous issues related to this property so this is rated as a low risk situation.

However the member of staff later visits the lady and the door is answered by a young untidy looking man who reluctantly lets the health visitor in.

The elderly lady identifies the young man as her nephew who is just visiting and goes on to say she had not seen him for many years prior to him turning up without any warning.

The heath visitor having been trained in personal safety & conflict resolution recognises the Warning signs being demonstrated by the young man and carries out a dynamic risk assessment.

The health worker has also been trained in breakaway skills and knows the importance of keeping her exits routes clear, maintaining a good reaction gap, and being pre-pared to use a pre- programmed response if the situation changers, e.g she starts to witness Danger signs

The pre-programmed response could be some-thing as simple as making an excuse to return to her vehicle for example claiming she need to go and get a benefit form from the car.

The use of any physical breakaway skills should only be used as a last result when all other forms of diffusion have been applied and failed.

Post critical incident debrief & review

All near miss incidents provide valuable learning enabling staff & management to evaluate the risk assessments control measures.
Staff should be encouraged to see every situation as a leaning experience (e.g No such thing as failure only feedback)
This particularly important in incidents involving conflict resolution and diffusions techniques e.g How could we do this better next time ?


An effective work related violence risk assessment is the key factor to a successful violence prevention strategy

 Planned risk assessments are the main starting position s and are necessary for the establishing good/effective control measures
 Certain duties and job specific activities carry inherent risks should be identified within the risk assessment process to reduce the risk of violence
 Dynamic risk assessment training will help staff to respond appropriately to a developing situation and minimise the risk of escalation into violence etc
 Incidents and near misses need to be professionally monitored & assessed to ensure personal support and identify any further training needs
 Enquiries need to concentrate on the Root cause
 An effective training programme needs to be put in place incorporating all available risk assessment data and should be continually monitored

Lone working & Personal Safety

Posted in personal safety on November 16th, 2010 by Chris – Be the first to comment

Is lone working more dangerous than working in groups or pair’s?
The statisical reasearch show that lone working is no more dangerous than working in pairs or groups.
This may surprice you but more Police officers are assualted in custody suites than anywhere else. How can this be they are surrounded by colleagues the offender as no escape route so why is this?
I remember reading some research many years ago in which it concluded that a lone police officer comming across a potential conflict situation would to walk a way/ ignore offensive comments if he/she was working alone.
But if they encountered the same situation with a collegue or collegues there was a far greater chance they would respond and take up the challenge even if they were still greatly out numbered clearly male ego plays a big part in this.
Going back to the Police custody situation, let’s look at why this could be such a volitile situation
Firstly : the defendant is just in the process of having their libity taken away from them so they are going to be in a very emotional state (emotion as no logic)
Secondly: they clearly have a reason to dislike the arreasting officer
Thirdly: the areasting officer and other officers present feels safe and therefore the attack takes all by complete suprice which impedes the response time ( each officer expecting other collegue to respond ).
Howecer ignoring the statistics there have been numerous examples where workers have been exposed to great risk resulting in tragic consequences over the year.
Undubtably the most famous of these is Susy Lamplugh who disapeared whilst working alone in southwest London. Susy Lamplugh was an estate agent, reported missing after going to an appointment with someone calling himself “Mr. Kipper” in order to show him a house in Fulham.
Susy Lamplugh as long been presumed dead and many attempts have made to find the body but todate all have been unsuccessful for more information on this go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suzy_Lamplugh.
There have been other reported instances involving tragic deaths and injuries involving lone workers includng other estate agents, social workers, charity workers and other professions.
Clearly Susy Lamplugh had been set up by Mr Kipper had a proper Risk Assessment been carried out and adhered to she would probably still be alive today.
In my next article to follow this we will look at carrying out a Risk Assessment and in particular a Dynamic Risk Assessments for the protection of lone workers.