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Executive Summary of HSE Violence At Work Statistics, 2020

Explore key findings from the HSE Report on workplace violence up to March 2020: 688,000 incidents, with protective service and health & social care professionals most at risk. This summary emphasizes the high prevalence of non-injurious incidents and the notable influence of drugs and alcohol, highlighting the necessity for improved safety protocols across all sectors.

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This is an executive summary of key statistics found in the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Report up until March 2020 focusing on Violence at Work.

1. Estimated 688,000 Incidents of Violence at Work in 2019/20

Data collected for the 2019/20 Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) reported an estimated 688,000 instances of violence at work. This includes 299,000 assaults and 389,000 threats (Page 3 of the HSE Report). It has remained relatively consistent in comparison to the previous year, 2018/19, where an estimated 739,000 incidents were reported.

2. Risk of Being a Victim of Workplace Violence is 1.4%

According to the 2019/20 Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), there is a 1.4% risk of being a victim of workplace violence. This statistic remains consistent when comparing the data across genders (Page 3 of the HSE Report).

3. Workers in Protective Service Occupations Face the Highest Risk of Workplace Violence

Protective service workers face the highest risk of workplace violence, specifically, an 8.4% risk as per the 2019/20 Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW). This is reported to be approximately 6 times higher than the all-occupation average of 1.4% (Page 5 of the HSE Report).

4. Both Health and Social Care Professionals Experience a Higher than Average Risk of Workplace Violence

Health and social care professionals also experience a higher than average risk of workplace violence with 3.9% and 3.3% respectively (Page 5 of the HSE Report).

5. Offender Accounted as a Stranger in 60% of Workplace Violence Incidents

In 60% of workplace violence incidents, the offender was a stranger to the victim. For the remaining 40% where the offender was known, they were most likely clients or members of the public known through work (Page 6 of the HSE Report).

6. Majority of Workplace Violence Incidents Result in No Physical Injury

The 2019/20 Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) reports that 62% of work-related violence incidents resulted in no physical injury. Cases with physical injuries involved severe bruising, minor bruising, or a black eye (Page 3 of the HSE Report).

7. Influence of Drugs and Alcohol in Offenders

Victims reported the offender under the influence of alcohol in an estimated 21% of threats and 43% of assaults at work. The perceived influence of drugs in offenders was reported in 28% of threats and 42% of assaults (Page 8 of the HSE Report).

8. Estimated 47,000 Workers Sustain Non-Fatal Injuries from Workplace Violence Annually

According to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), an alternative measure of violence at work, approximately 47,000 workers in Great Britain sustain non-fatal injuries annually as a result of acts of physical violence at work, this accounts for roughly 8% of all non-fatal workplace injuries (Page 8 of the HSE Report).

9. Over 90% of Injuries from Workplace Violence Occurred in the Public Sector

From the Labour Force Survey data, around 9 out of every 10 workers who sustained an injury from an act of violence at work, regardless of whether it resulted in taking time off, were employed in public services. This includes sectors such as human health and social work activities, education, and public administration and defence (Page 9 of the HSE Report).

10. Non-Fatal Rate of Injury Due to Violence at Work is 140 Cases per 100,000 Workers

The non-fatal rate of injury caused by acts of violence at work is 140 cases per 100,000 workers, according to the Labour Force Survey. However, this rate is statistically higher in the public service industries compared to the average rate across all industries (Page 9 of the HSE Report).


Although a significant number of injuries sustained in violent incidents are classified as minor injuries, a proportion of these are of a more severe nature that may cause longer-term physical and psychological harm.

While occupational groups such as the protective service and health & social care suffer exposure to higher violence rates, all workplaces should consider better measures to minimise harm caused by violence. Carefully analysing occupational data on violence can aid in understanding and combating these issues.


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Richard O'Connor is a Director at First Mats. He has deep knowledge in areas like Manufacturing, Warehousing, Marine, and Health & Safety. Richard's insights have been featured in well-known publications such as Bloomberg Business, The Sun, and Reader's Digest. His blend of industry expertise and passion for sharing makes him a sought-after voice in his fields.

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