Violence and Robbery at Work - Prevention and Aftercare

"Violence" is a complex, ambiguous term. For labour protection, the definition of the International Labour Organization suits well: Violence in the workplace is "any action, incident or deviant behaviour which heavily insults, threatens, offends or injures a person during work or in direct consequence of their work."

Violence can be caused by customers or visitors, but also by colleagues and superiors. How high are the risks of violence in your own company? How can companies evaluate the risk? How can you educate your employees? And what can you do as a victim of violence?

You will find answers to these questions in the articles compiled below. They lead to brochures, risk assessments, checklists and guidelines which deal with prevention and rehab, and they provide much more tips and information.

Definition: Violence in the Workplace
"Violence" is a complex, ambiguous term. For labour protection, the definition of the International Labour Organization suits well: Violence in the workplace is "any action, incident or deviant behaviour which heavily insults, threatens, offends or injures a person during work or in direct consequence of their work." Violence can be caused by customers or visitors, but also by colleagues and superiors. You will find more information about the definition of violence on the website of the German Statutory Accident Insurance (DGUV).
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Download Checklist: Violence at Work
Employees in public services are increasingly subject to assaults and threats by customers. They range from ordinary verbal abuse to violent scenarios which even require intervention by the police. Is your company prepared for workplace violence? The more frequent and serious the occurrence of violence becomes in your company, the more important it becomes to make provisions for preventing violence. The Accident Insurance North Rhine-Westphalia (UK NRW) provides information and downloads about that issue.
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Video: Robbery in Retail Trade
The Accident Prevention and Insurance Association for Trade and Distribution of Goods (BGHW) has published a video which deals with "Robberies in Retail Trade". Chief of Prevention Dr. Stefan Hussy explains how to behave in a robbery, how to organize cash transports more safely, and which rehabilitations measures the Accident Insurance offers after such incidents.
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Download Brochure: Safety Check for Robberies
Also offered by the BGHW: A safety check for robberies in retail trade. The guidelines support companies in meeting their obligation to carry through a risk assessment and to prevent robberies. It is about evaluating the risks concerning health hazards and conducting adequate measures. A tip: Involve your employees, your safety representative, and – if there is one – your work council because this will evoke a better understanding for safety-conscious behaviour.
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Online Article: Prevention of Robberies and Aftercare
You will find more information about robberies in retail trade in the issue 04.2012 of the periodical "BGHW Compact". Under the title "Prevention of Robberies and Aftercare" it provides info, tips and links concerning risk assessment, operating instructions and codes of behaviour. The most important rule: Never handle cash in public!
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Download: Traumatized – Psychological Help after Robberies
In the issue 2/2011 (PDF, 28 pages) of their magazine "BGHW aktuell", the BGHW informs about "Psychological Help after Robberies". A robbery is a deep cut in the lives of the involved persons. Even if no physical harm was done, the emotional and mental wounds can be very severe. The magazine also describes which help the BGHW for victims of such traumatizing experiences.
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Online Article: "They wanted to kill me"
"Akzente", a magazine for work safety by the German Employer's Liability Insurance Association for the Food and Catering Industry (BGN), reports about the fate of Bianca Scholz in issue 2/2010. She was 29 years old when two teenagers assaulted her on her way home from work and stabbed her down. Since then, she is paralyzed from her neck down and depends on help around the clock. But still she masters her life with great self-confidence and determination, and she is able to take pleasure in positive things.
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Download Article: When the Soul is hurt
In issue 3.12 of "report", the magazine for industrial bakeries by the BGN, you will find on page 9 the article "When the soul is hurt". It describes how the BGN helps with psychological problems after accidents or assaults. BGN Rehabilitation Manager Thorsten Fehrens says: "In such cases it is extremely important for these people to get psychotherapeutic help immediately. The faster the get professional help, the less psychological strain they will have and the smaller the risk that their mental suffering will become permanent“. His advice: "Acts of violence should be reported immediately."
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Download Brochure: Violence and Extreme Incidents at Work
A work safety brochure (ASI) by the BGN also deals with the consequences of violence and extreme incidents. They can cause mental problems like anxieties and sleep disturbances and consequently lead to temporary or permanent health damages. Also, the resulting times of absence have adverse economic effects for the company. The brochure offers help to minimize these consequences and give tips for preventing robberies and violence.
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Seminar: Violence, Assaults and Mental Traumatization
Among the seminars offered by the BGN there is also one dealing with "Violence, Assaults and Mental Traumatization: More Safety by Competent Behaviour in Crisis Situations" for employers, managers and employees. The goal of the seminar is to learn and train adequate actions or reactions in critical situations. The knowledge about your own legal options and the right handling of sensitive situations can let you act with more competence and certainty.
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Download Brochure: Gaming Facilities – Safe and Prosperous
The Statutory Accident Insurance in the Administrative Sector (VBG) has published a brochure with tips and procedural guidelines for gaming facilities. This former "BGI 5016" describes how successful gaming facilities use all available resources to assess risks at an early state and make the workplace safe. For these companies, security, health, and quality are crucial criteria for their success. In the brochure you will find information and practical help for a safe organization of their facility.
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Download Brochure: Working in Gaming Facilities
Another brochure by the VBG provides important hints and tips for employees in gaming facilities. Some headlines: "Good interaction with customers", "The difficult customer ", "Handling cash", and "Robbery – how to react?". Important basic rules are: When you interact friendly with customers, you will have less stress. Your goal should always be to "nip conflicts in the bud". Handle cash with extreme care. When a robbery occurs, stay calm (at least in your outward appearance), obliging and self-confident.
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