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Violence at Work - Guidelines

Introduction and Scope

1. UCL takes the risk of violence to staff and students very seriously.

2. These guidelines are intended to set out general arrangements and to provide advice on avoiding incidents of violence, dealing with it when it arises and dealing with its effects.

3. The guidelines cover actual or threatened violence.  Separate policies and procedures apply in cases of sexual and racial harassment.  College procedures, made under Section 43 of the Education (No 2) Act 1986, also cover the threat of violence arising from the hire of premises.  Employees and students who perpetrate acts of violence will be subject to disciplinary action under the relevant College disciplinary procedure.  Serious incidents may also require the involvement of the police and lead to criminal prosecution or civil action.

4. It is recognised that by their very nature some jobs may carry a higher risk of exposure to violence.  These will be identified during the conduct of the periodic risk assessments carried out within departments.  Account will be also taken of this when selecting candidates for appointment, while, if deemed necessary, specific guidelines may apply to such staff and specialist training may be provided.


5. UCL has a duty to assess the risk of violence and to provide, as far as reasonably practicable, a safe working environment for staff.  UCL's Health & Safety Management Team will monitor annually (or at such shorter periods as seems appropriate) reported incidents of violence and consequently will make such changes to these guidelines and initiate such other action as appears necessary.

6. Responsibility for risk assessment and for providing a safe working environment rests with Heads of Departments.  This includes:

7. Members of staff also have responsibilities which include:

8. Some common sense steps can be taken to minimise the likelihood of encountering violence:

9. Where a situation has already arisen:

10. Where any injury is sustained medical advice should be sought as soon as possible.  Wherever practicable, immediately after the event the employing officer should conduct an interview to establish whether the person is fit to continue at work or whether they need to go home (accompanied, if necessary).  In the latter event, it is also important to ensure that someone else will be at home to support the person. The symptoms of post traumatic stress do not surface until about 48 hours after an incident and assistance in dealing with this should be offered at this time. OHS can assist in referring the person to appropriate help.

11. Where a serious incident has occurred, a debriefing of those concerned should take place as soon as possible after the incident in order to consider what lessons can be drawn for the better protection of the employees concerned.  The conduct of the debriefing may involve the Human Resources Director and/or Dean of Students, as appropriate.  Where the police have been involved, this will take place after completion of their investigations.