Steps to take
Nursing staff encounter a range of potential hazards, often on a daily basis, but few are as distressing and difficult to manage as violence.
You have a right to be safe at work irrespective of whether you are based in hospitals, in the community or other healthcare premises. Employers are required by law to identify hazards to which staff are exposed and take all reasonably practicable steps to eradicate or minimise them.
If you have been assaulted at work:
- Contact the police immediately to report the assault. This is important, even if you have been assaulted by a confused patient. If you do not, then any later criminal injuries compensation claim (see below) will be refused. Your employer’s policy may offer guidance but it may be out of date on this point.
- Check your employer's sickness policy and see our sickness advice if you've been injured.
- Read your employer’s policies on violence in the workplace and check for any specific processes in place that you should follow.
- Report your concerns to your manager as soon as possible and document the assault on an incident form.
- Read our advice on personal injury and accident at work. While violence in the workplace is not an ‘accident’, similar principles apply in relation to reporting incidents and what action to take if you have suffered an injury. You may be entitled to compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) if you were injured in England, Scotland or Wales or the Northern Ireland Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme for injuries sustained in Northern Ireland. Call us on 0345 772 6100 if you would like to discuss making a claim.
- Think about whether you need emotional support.
Once you have reported an assault, violence or the threat of violence to your employer, your employer should:
- Carry out an assessment of the risks to health and safety through a risk assessment (or review current risk assessments).
- Decide on the arrangements which must be implemented to prevent injury occurring and put in place protective measures.
- Appoint competent people to advise on health and safety.
- Provide information and training to employees.