Past safety disputes have shown that a lack of reported data on incidents and a true picture on the levels of violence and abuse facing particular groups of members can prove a significant barrier to securing necessary safeguards - or preserving those already in place.
Concern about exposure to abuse, threats and physical assault is a significant source of pressure, which can lead to stress.
Accidents need to be prevented
The same issue can arise more generally in health and safety issues relating to risk assessments and the prevention of accidents.
Shortcomings in protective and preventive measures could have been identified through properly reported minor incidents or near miss events, but a lack of such reporting means that more serious incidents are not prevented. HSE have, in the past, reported research that shows the extent of this problem.
With the ongoing programme of job cuts within the Civil Service, there is an increased risk that lack of personnel and resultant increases in waiting times etc could result in increased incidents of abuse and threaand poorer overall health and safety provision.
Calls to address these problem have been received both from the Support and Related Grades Conference and through this year's PCS delegate conference. So we are now launching the Report It! Campaign to coincide with the European Week of Safety and Health at Work.
The campaign will address these issues and aims to encourage members to ensure that all incidents of abuse, threat or violence are reported and that also they report any near miss incidents and no injury accidents.
As part of the campaign, we will be asking reps to follow up on reports - to ensure that management action is being taken to address any shortcomings in the protections being afforded to staff.
We expect the campaign to deliver improved and more accurate figures for cases of abuse and violence, which reps can use to discuss appropriate corrective actions that managers need to put in place.
And also we will need to look at the reporting systems themselves, to ensure that they do not discourage staff reporting and at how incidents are investigated.
A double campaign
We are aiming to run two co-ordinated campaign approaches - one to improve the general level of reports of near-miss and minor incidents and the second to place particular attention on the need to report all incidents of violence, abuse and threat. By doing this we are sure that all workplaces will certainly find at least one of these relevant to their circumstances and, where both are used, the similar campaign approach helps to demonstrate the links between the two issues.
Updated 23 Feb 2017