In business 'what gets measured gets managed'. Research carried out by RoSPA suggests that the variability in accident rates across UK organisations as a population is so great that any attempt to analyse accident statistics in studies, which consider less than 1,000 organisations are statistically meaningless. In other words, the variability of accident rates in UK industry is so large that the probability of making an error in the interpretation of the results is nearly 100 per cent.
A further criticism that can be levelled is that, most often issues such as work related ill health and unsafe conditions are neglected as compare to other, such as the unacceptable exposures to health hazards. Health damage is generally a bigger issue than accidental injury but these are harder to identify and quantify. HSE estimate that early death from past exposure to hazardous working conditions is at least one (if not perhaps two) orders of magnitude greater than death due to workplace accidents (although much of this occurs after those affected have ceased employment).
Some may seek to argue that good health and safety management which produces a low a lost time injury rate is more likely to address health protection as well. But an absence of accidents cannot be taken to imply neither a low rate of work related ill health since neither modelling nor data are available to support this. (Director action on Safety and Health, 2004)
Although some employers and so-called workplace violence "experts" promote profiling of perpetrators to predict violence, it is often inaccurate and can lead to mislabeling and possibly discriminating against groups of people and workers.
Identifying hazards, collecting information and documenting incidents is a very important part of addressing workplace violence problems. Employers are not required to correct hazards, which they do not know exist. Solutions cannot be found for unreported problems. A hazard assessment is a method of identifying, analyzing and documenting workplace hazards. Assessing workplace violence hazards involves some of the same tools used to document any other workplace safety or health problem. These include checklists and surveys, investigating incidents and reviewing available records.
1. Inspect the Workplace - Appendix A contains a workplace violence inspection checklist that can be used as part of a safety and health inspection or safety audit. While inspecting for work-place violence risk factors, review the physical facility and note the presence or absence of security measures. Local law enforcement officials may also be able to conduct a security audit or provide information about their experiences with crime in the area.
2. Conduct a Survey - The most important source of information on workplace hazards is workers. In fact, workers may be the only source of information on workplace violence hazards since management may not document incidents (or near misses). In addition, conducting regular surveys may also enable the local union to evaluate workplace violence prevention measures.
Information can be collected either through a written questionnaire distributed to workers or through one-on-one personal interviews. A written survey may be appropriate if the union wants personal or sensitive information. For example, a worker may be reluctant to voice to a union representative fears about a co-worker, but may be more willing to describe the problem in an anonymous questionnaire.