Worksafe Auditing "Occupational Violence" 7 Tips to Manage Aggressive Behaviours

WorkSafe gets straight to the point when talking about work-related violence, stress, bullying and harassment:

“These are the kind of issues that, left unchecked, could cause serious injuries to your workers.

We know the devastation that comes with workplace injuries – to the worker, their family, workmates and employer. And we know no employer wants to face a criminal conviction and significant fines if found guilty of breaching Occupational Health and Safety laws.

Are you prepared for a WorkSafe inspector to pop up at your workplace?”

Well that is the million dollar question, literally.

Here are 7 tips to help you manage the impact of aggressive behaviours on your staff, the people they support, and the organisation itself.

7 Tips to Manage Aggressive Behaviours


1. Know Your Problem

Understand the specific nature and impact of aggressive behaviours for your organisation. Ask staff the right questions and actively seek out the answers.
Beware the assumptions we make when we do or do not have safety conversations.

2. Open Door Policy

Management, including senior management, should be accessible and available to their staff in order to build a culture of open discussion, analysis and resolution of problems including the management of aggressive behaviours.

To paraphrase General Colin Powell:

“The day staff* stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help them or concluded that you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.”

3. Meaningful Culture of Staff Safety

Foster a meaningful safety culture where staff safety and the wellbeing of the people you support takes precedence over daily to do lists.

4. Continuous Hazard Assessment

Increase the awareness of your staff of the space they are working in and the ever changing nature of the people they are working with.

The earlier identification of potential situations provides more options to achieve safer outcomes.

5. Empower Your Staff

Your staff will be amongst the first responders for incidents involving aggressive behaviours.

Provide your staff with the right tools to manage aggressive behaviours.

Empower your staff to make good decisions about their safety and the safety of those around them.

6. 60 Second Incident Report Form

The under reporting of incidents involving aggressive behaviours should not be underestimated.

In the absence of reliable incident reporting, how do you know what your staff are enduring (in silence) prior to the submission of their workers compensation claim?

Institute a 60 second Incident Report Form to capture the high frequency incidents that are currently not being reported. Routinely analyse the incident data to identify trends across staff and the people they support.

Then consider setting KPIs around incident reporting.

Please feel welcome to get in touch for an example 60 second Incident Report Form.

7. Employee Assistance Program

Would you walk around on a broken leg for 3 months before going to the hospital? Many of us will not seek help (or perhaps not know where to start) for a psychological injury.

Encourage staff to actually use your Employee Assistance Program early.

Getting help earlier will minimise the harm suffered as a result of the injury and start the healing sooner.

Image of Travis Holland presenting

Travis Hol­land
Man­ag­ing Direc­tor
Hol­land Thomas
Travis Holland email address

M.A.B. Staff Safety Training. Find out more.

Should you wish to discuss strategies to improve your staff’s safety in their work environment, please feel welcome to contact Holland Thomas.

Our goal at Holland Thomas is to create safer workplaces that enhance wellbeing for all concerned whilst also delivering improved operational and financial performance.

This blog draws on our years of experience delivering our M.A.B.™ Staff Safety Training (Contextualised Prevention and Management of Aggressive Behaviours) across Australia and the development of My Safety Buddy, our smartphone app and web portal based lone worker safety solution.

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* Colin Powell referred to soldiers.