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What is an Employer’s Responsibility When Employees Are Attacked or Threatened at Work?

Even when your job involves a risk of threats in a public-facing role, all employees should feel safe in the knowledge that their employers have identified and assessed these risks and done all they can to protect them from harm.

The employers’ liability team at Slater and Gordon recently conducted new research after seeing a rise in the number of people contacting them for advice after being attacked at work.

The results, due to be released this week, are concerning, particularly for those working in the public sector. Abuse of any kind is unacceptable and it is a reminder to all employers to remember their legal duty of care and make sure they are doing all they can to ensure the workplace is safe. 

What Duties Does The Law Impose on an Employer?

If staff feel they are at risk, an employer’s duty of care means they must listen to their concerns and ensure they do everything that can reasonably be done to try and resolve them.

Employers are responsible for the health and safety of their employees while they are at work and their top priority should be providing a safe workplace. The Health and Safety Executive has clear guidelines on what employers are required by law to do.

A proper risk assessment should be carried out on any job to identify potential risk factors and adequate measures should then be put in place to reduce or manage them. For example, staff in the medical profession who may sometimes have to deal with volatile patients should be trained in defence to enable them to protect themselves, the patient and the public.   

Employers are required by law to have valid employers’ liability insurance cover to protect people from workplace accidents. In most work accident claims the case for compensation is brought against the employers’ liability insurance company, and not the employer.

In the event an employee is injured or suffers an illness in the workplace, the Employers’ Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969 ensures an employer has a minimum level of insurance cover in the event that an employee has an employers’ liability claim.

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.

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