It is important to make sure that all workers are protected and feel safe at work. We can help to protect our members from the effects of anti-social and criminal behaviour. Remember, abuse is not part of the job.
Here are Usdaw's top ten tips to stay safe at work.
1. Be polite: It can be hard but remaining polite and helpful is the best way to calm down an abusive person. Remember your customer service training.
2. Be firm: As politely as possible tell an abusive customer that their behaviour is unacceptable.
3. Be prepared: Make sure you know what to do if an incident occurs. How do you call for help? If you see a suspected shoplifter in action what should you do?
4. Don’t put up with prejudice: Your employer has a legal duty to protect you from sexist or racist abuse or harassment based on your disability, sexual orientation or religion.
5. Report it: Make sure all incidents are recorded. Every employer should have a system for staff to report incidents and should regularly review them with your Usdaw rep to make the workplace safer.
6. Don’t be afraid to call for help: If you feel threatened call for help, it is not a sign of weakness or failure.
7. Talk with your colleagues: Is everyone aware of the policies and procedures? Are staff ready to back each other up?
8. Get to know the security measures: Familiarise yourself with panic buttons, safe refuges for staff, special codes to call for help or other security measures.
9. Raise concerns: If you have safety worries raise them with your Usdaw rep. The Union can tackle issues like being left to cope on your own at high risk times, lack of security measures, gangs hanging around, etc.
10. Don’t accept abuse as part of the job: Employers have legal duties to protect you from injury and abuse and Usdaw is there to help members.
The best way to protect yourself is to join Usdaw
As a member of the Union we can help if your store isn't as safe as it should be. Usdaw’s health and safety reps, backed by experienced full-time officers, can take up your concerns and negotiate to make your workplace safer.
If the worst happens and you are a victim of violence because of an assault or an armed robbery or other crime, the Union can help you to pursue a claim with the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. Members can start a claim by calling Usdaw’s free accident claim line FirstCall Usdaw on 0800 055 6333.