Online Violence in the Workplace

Debbie AnstisPosted 5 May 2017 By Debbie Anstis, Health & Safety Consultant In Academy Schools Business Business Improvement Business Recovery & Insolvency Charity Construction Contractors Corporate Finance Elite Payroll Environmental Forensic Services Health & Safety Human Resources In House Leisure and Tourism Manufacturing Professional Practices Rural and Landed Estates Solicitors Taxation

We think of violence in the work place as being restricted to face to face confrontation in areas such as pubs, and more recently hospitals and similar care situations.

However, the latest violence in the work place figures show a rise of around a third in the number of threats reported by employees via online platforms.

The Health and Safety Executive (“HSE”) has confirmed that threatening behaviour has increased, fuelled by the growth in social media and the use of smartphones in the workplace.

The latest figures for 2015-2016 from the Crime Survey of England and Wales estimate that there were 698,000 incidents of violence at work, with 119,000 via online channels. 18% of these victims reported repeated incidents of threats via social media and email.

Strangers make up nearly half of the perpetrators, which means that the majority of offenders are known to their victims.

With the increase of bullying and violence online seen in our schools, it was predictable that this would spread to our workplace quickly. The line between work and home life is now becoming more and more indistinct in this 24/7 world.

How do we combat this? Internally, all organisations must have an anti-bullying policy, while externally, employers must create risk assessments to be ready to support staff if this type of incident occurs.

This issue, as a duty of care by employers, crosses both HR and H&S boundaries, and Peta Fry and I would be happy to advise you if your company has an issue with this type of online behaviour.

To discuss your specific needs, please email Debbie Anstis or Peta Fry, or give them a call on 01793 818300.

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