A UK employee was attacked earlier last month as he worked alone in an Eat & Go takeaway restaurant.
Sean Nixon was working an evening shift in the restaurant when two males entered the store and an argument broke out with two female customers. The four left the restaurant at Nixon’s request but the scene progressed outside and one of the males, Jamie Bostock, turned back into the restaurant and verbally assaulted the lone worker, throwing cutlery and condiments at him and forcing him to hide behind a fridge.
Bostock then leaped over the counter in an aggressive manner forcing Nixon to run upstairs and ring the police as Bostock grabbed the till and ran off down the street.
Jamie Bostock who was drunk at the time, has been ordered by the courts to carry out 180 hours unpaid work and pay £150 compensation to the restaurant.
Unfortunately attacks on workers in the food and retail industry are not unusual. In fact, statistics recently published by BRC revealed that last year, there were 51 incidents of reported violence and abuse per 1000 staff, showing a 40% increase from the previous year. The real numbers are expected to be a lot higher as many assaults go unreported.
Retail employees encounter the public every day and unfortunately, many take their anger out on unexpecting employees. This can be particularly frightening when working alone with no one to help deal with the situation.
While the risk of violence and aggression is difficult to control, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the severity of an incident;
- Implement mandatory staff training on managing aggression and violence
- Encourage employees to report incidents no matter how small
- Implement a comprehensive lone worker policy
- Implement personal safety devices that include a panic button and duress