Our injury at work specialists recently carried out new research into the number of people being physically attacked or threatened at work.
The results, based on a survey of 2,000 workers, were extremely concerning and particularly those from public sector staff – people like nurses, doctors, teachers and police officers who go to work to help us.
More than one in 10 of the 1,000 public sector workers we asked had been physically assaulted and the majority said it had happened at least once.
A further 18 per cent had witnessed a colleague being attacked and almost a quarter had also been threatened.
In around 90 per cent of incidents involving physical abuse, the perpetrator was a member of the public.
Two thirds of nurses had experienced violence or threats while on duty.
In education, one in four teachers had been threatened and 13 per cent had been attacked.
In recent months we have seen an increase in the number of people in public sector jobs contacting us for advice after being attacked and injured at work.
In some cases, this is in the form of a slap or kick and others we spoke to reported much more serious abuse.
It is simply unacceptable that this is happening – and on a regular basis for some people – and what is particularly appalling is that for most of the attacks, members of the public are to blame.
More than a third of the people we surveyed said they no longer always felt safe at work and more than one in five had considered quitting altogether.
All employers have a legal duty to look after the health, safety and wellbeing of their staff, yet we represent and are regularly asked to act for people whose employers have let them down.
If employees feel they are at risk, they should be listened to and taken seriously and reasonable steps taken to alleviate their fears.
For more information on our research, see: More Than a Third of Public Sector Staff Violently Attacked or Threatened at Work
If you have been injured or abused at work, see: What to do if You Are Attacked or Feel Threatened or Unsafe in The Workplace
Tracey Benson is a senior associate, specialising in personal injury and accidents at work claims at Slater and Gordon in London.
The expert work accident solicitors at Slater and Gordon offer a free consultation for anyone injured or taken ill because of the work they do. Most cases are handled on a No Win, No Fee basis, meaning there is no financial risk to you.
Call Slater and Gordon on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online.