As a business (PCBU), you must manage the risks associated with work-related violence and aggression, and these risks vary considerably from business to business depending on what industry you are in, the types of roles being performed by your staff, the clients you serve, the geographies you work from and the different hours of the day that people are working for you.

Here are a few areas of risk and a simple risk assessment template to get you started.

Occupational Violence and Aggression Risk Assessment Checklist

WHS Issue Yes/No Solution
Working alone or in an isolated or remote area

  • Is it safe for the worker to be alone at all?
  • Is it appropriate for the lone worker to be alone whilst carrying out work activities (e.g. a buddy may be required if a community support worker is attending a client’s house who has a history of violence and aggression)?
  • Is there a risk of violence and aggression from other people or incidents such as bullying, harassment or discrimination (e.g. clients, patients or members of the public)?
  • If the worker is working inside a locked building, will emergency services, law enforcement, or security be able to gain access if the worker is unable to let them in (e.g. night cleaners who work alone)?
  • Does the lone worker have access to a communications system (e.g. mobile or satellite phones, alarm systems)?
  • Are there procedures for regular contact with the lone worker who works alone?
  • Has the lone worker had training to prepare them for working alone and, where applicable, in remote locations (e.g. training on dealing with occupational violence and aggression)?
Working in unfamiliar or unpredictable environments

  • Is the work in an unfamiliar or unpredictable location (and if so do you know where people are located and what remote locations if something goes wrong)?
Working at night or outside of normal working hours

  • The time of day when the worker may be working alone?
  • Is there increased risk at certain times of day (e.g. some lone workers may be more exposed to violence on evening and night shifts)?
  • Is lighting in entrances and exits to buildings and parking areas adequate?
  • Have aspects of building design been addressed, such as access barriers and clear lines of sight?
  • Are security measures adequate, including alarm maintenance and testing schedule, video or patrols?
  • Will the emergency communication or alarm system work properly in all situations?
  • What mode of transport is being used to go between work and home, e.g. public transport, own vehicle etc.?
Delivering a service to people who may have unpredictable or aggressive behaviour, are distressed, ill or incarcerated.

  • Is the work in a location that increases the risk of violence to workers (e.g. from people affected by drugs or alcohol or in high-crime areas)?
Delivering a service to people which may cause frustration, resentment or misunderstanding

  • Have you provided training on how to deal with difficult customers/clients or members of the public?
  • Do you have resources in place to support staff who are dealing with difficult situations?
Handling cash, drugs and valuables

  • Are staff aware of the added risk of occupational violence and aggression when handling cash, drugs and valuables?
  • Have the staff been trained in cash, drug, and valuable resource handling?
  • Are emergency procedures in place in the event of an incident?
Enforcement activities such as issuing fines, law enforcement, controlling crowds

  • Have you provided the necessary training to enable staff to fulfil the requirements of their enforcement activities?
  • Do you have policies and procedures in place for dealing with the relevant enforcement activities?
  • Have you provided training on how to deal with difficult customers/clients or members of the public?
  • Have people been buddied up with others to enable real-time experience prior to working independently or alone?
Knowledge sharing

  • Are there procedures to ensure that incidents of work-related violence are captured and hazard and risk assessments conducted?
  • Are there procedures for incident reporting so that all incidents of occupational violence and aggression are recorded, and actions taken to resolve them are documented?
Is there anything else that applies to your situation that is likely to increase the risk of work-related violence and aggression?

Need some help with training for the prevention and management of occupational violence and aggression?

To find out more about the Sentrient occupational violence and aggression online course, you can visit the website page for our working alone course or occupational violence and aggression course or the Sentrient main website.