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Date: Mon, 25 October 2010

Rising tide of assaults at work ‘must be tackled’ says UNISON - 3000 more violent incidents than last year

An annual survey of violence at work by Public Services union UNISON has revealed an increase of over 3000 assaults when compared with last year.

A UNISON report on ‘Violent Assaults on Public Service Staff in Scotland', presented to the union’s annual Health and Safety conference in Stirling on Friday 22 October, has found that more than 28,000 assaults on staff were recorded for the year 2009-10 The figures were obtained through Freedom of Information requests from employers of UNISON members.

Dave Watson, UNISON Scottish Organiser said: “Any act of violence on a member of staff going about their business of providing vital public services is completely unacceptable. To have over 28,000 in a year is shocking. Employers clearly have to do more to protect their staff.

“It is clear that where rigorous monitoring and active preventative measures are in place, this has resulted in improvements for the health and safety of our members. But some employers are clearly failing to monitor violent assaults effectively, and as a result are failing to do enough to protect their staff.”

The Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives published Guideline in February titled “Managing Occupational Violence in the Workplace” We are calling on employers to work with our safety reps to implement those- violent assaults at work must be tackled .. We are also campaigning, with the STUC to ensure that the Scottish parliament passes the protection of Workers (Scotland) Bill introduced by Hugh Henry.


Notes to editors

Figures compiled via FoI requests using data from 30 local authorities, ten of the 14 area health boards, 5 of the Special Health Boards, and other public sector areas in which UNISON organises, including police, universities and colleges, NDPBs Figures received for 2010 shows a total figure of 28,399, an increase of over three thousand in the level of assaults compared with last year’s figures. During the year, the figures in health have increased by 1,510 to 15,212.

In Local Government, assaults have also increased by 773 to 11,447. When figures for other services are added in, the number of assaults rises to 28,399, an increase of 3,353 from 25,407 in 2008/09.