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Health and Safety Risk to Social Workers
Posted by David Cant on January 19, 2012

One of the problems which are faced by health care workers is being exposed to violence. In order to help minimise the dangers to employees in this sector it is essential to have management systems in place. These need to be created in order to reduce this risks of being physically harmed while working and also to help try and control the dangers of health care workers from becoming stressed and depressed due to their daily duties.

Attacked on the Job – Violence at work

Health and safety inspectors have recently prosecuted the non-profit organisation Dimensions UK after one of their employees was attacked on the job. Dimensions UK works with those with learning difficulties offering support and therefore need to have adequate procedures in order to reduce the risks that clients pose to the employees.

In December 2009 one of the workers at Dimensions was attacked by an unnamed client. The employee was kicked in the eye and this incident started an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive. The inspectors discovered that this was not the only incident and some other employees had also come into danger at the hands of the same client.

Risk of Violence Not Managed Effectively

Although it is common for health care workers to be put into risky situations Dimensions had not put into place an effective management system and as a result of this their employees were put in danger.  The client had a history of violence and therefore ways to manage this particular client needed to be put in place to reduce the risks.  There were many indicators which made it clear that this client was a possible threat and these were not acted upon.

The Health and Safety Executive prosecuted Dimensions Ltd for their breach of Section 2(1) and Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Section 2(1) relates to the stated duties of each employer to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees, so far as is reasonably practical. Section 3(1) says that employers need to conduct his undertaking in a way which is practical to ensure people who are not in his employment are not exposed to risks to their own health and safety.

Fined for Failing their Employees

Newcastle Magistrates Court fined Reading based organisation Dimensions Ltd the sum of £14,000 and was also ordered to pay costs of £30,000. In addition to these fines which were related to their employees and the agency workers affected by the violent client Dimensions also were charged a £15 surcharge for the victim. This money is to be spent on providing services to the victims and those who witnessed the violence.

Management Systems Can Reduce Risks

Health and safety consultants are able to help you with your management systems to check that everything possible is being done to ensure the safety of your employees. Two of the useful health and safety services are the audit and the training which can be used to spot areas which are failing and also ensure the health and safety is being addressed and implemented into everyday work life.

Call 0800 1488 677 today and find out how health and safety consultants can help you and your employees.


David Cant is a Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner with a brain you can pick. Fluent in practical advice. He has a wealth of Industry experience and is the Director of life at Veritas Consulting.

You can find him on – Twitter and Facebook also Linkedin

This post has been filed in: Workplace Health and Safety

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