Those deemed most at risk of attacks in the workplace are workers in the service and care sector along with teachers, teaching assistants and other education workers.
The latest figures have revealed that more than 130 attacks have taken place on school staff in Leicester and Leicestershire over the past 12 months.
What is classed as an attack at work?
The Health and Safety Executive (‘HSE’) defines violence at work as “Any incident in which a person is abused, threatened or assaulted in circumstances related to their work.”
Is my employer responsible for my attack at work?
Your employer has a duty of care to ensure that you are kept safe whilst at work. The law requires employers to take reasonable steps to protect their employees from being injured or being exposed to a foreseeable risk of being injured.
If your employer is aware of a particular individual that has a history of violence and fails to take any action to protect you, they may be liable if you are injured in an attack. The individual could be a colleague, a pupil, a patient or any other person who you encounter in the course of your employment.
If your job involves you working alone with patients or others with challenging behavioural needs, you are likely to be especially vulnerable to the risk of an attack. Your employer should ensure that a suitable risk assessment has been undertaken for the tasks you are expected to carry out so that any risk can be identified and minimised to make sure you are kept safe.
If your workplace is a regular target for crime (e.g. burglary or vandalism), your employer should ensure that appropriate security precautions are in place to ensure that you are not exposed to risk of injury as a result.
What to do if you are attacked at work
If you are attacked at work (either by a colleague, patient, client or other individual) you should report the attack to your employer as soon as you possibly can. You should ensure that details of the attack are recorded in an Accident Book or Incident Report Form and that the details of any witnesses to the attack are noted. This will form evidence which may be required at a later stage.
You should seek medical attention from the hospital or your GP to ensure that there is a full record of your injuries in your medical records. If your symptoms continue, keep a diary detailing how you are feeling. You should also keep a record (as well as any receipts) of any expenses you incur as a result of the accident – loss of earnings, medical expenses, travel expenses all form part of your compensation.
Depending on the circumstances, you may also wish to report the attack to the Police. If your employer is not in breach of its duty to you, you may be able to make an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority as an innocent victim of a violent crime.
Specialist advice about attacks and accidents at work
If you are attacked at work, it is important to seek specialist advice as soon as possible to ensure that you are properly compensated for your injuries and losses.
Contact our team of expert personal injury lawyers, based at our head office in Leicester, to speak to someone today. Your first meeting with us, whether at home, the hospital or at our offices, will always be completely free.