While not-for-profit organisations are working to help society, they are not immune to the danger of violence present in all workplaces. This nonprofit risk of violence, either involving an outsider or between two employees remains a serious safety and health issue.
Identifying Your Risk
Although risk in not-for-profit organisations depends greatly on the type of activity being performed and cannot be easily generalised, characteristics of some activities in many not-for-profit and faith-based entities are particularly risky:
- Employees may be required to enter into high-crime areas.
- Employees are sometimes exposed to violent, mentally unstable individuals.
- Employees’ work may be socially controversial, subject to potentially violent protest.
- Working long hours with high incidence of burnout increases stress.
Whether it stems from work-related disputes, domestic abuse or other personal issues, violence against not-for-profit staff can occur inside or outside the workplace and can range from threats or verbal abuse to physical assaults. Tempers can flare and escalate to violent behaviour at any time.
Violence can generally be divided into three categories:
- Pure criminal intent.
- Client incidents, in which a client acts out violently towards an employee.
- Worker to worker incidents stemming from work-related disputes, often involving managers or supervisors.
Nonprofit Risk Management
It’s important to take steps to minimise nonprofit risk, this includes a company wide, zero tolerance to threats, bullying, harassment or any other form of violence.
Although nothing can guarantee that you will never be a victim of workplace violence, many incidents are preventable. Contribute to the safety measures and other efforts your organisation has in place by following these guidelines:
- Be aware of and report threatening behaviour, and be alert for other signs of aggression or violent behaviour.
- Take all threats seriously, without exception.
- Learn how to recognise, avoid or diffuse potentially violent situations by attending personal safety training programmes.
- Alert supervisors to any concerns about safety or security, and report all incidents immediately in writing.
- Avoid travelling alone to unfamiliar locations whenever possible.
At ThirdSectorProtect, we know that charity, not-for-profit and voluntary organisations have very distinct insurance needs. ThirdSectorProtect provides a specialist service to guide and protect your work with integrity, trust and professionalism. Call us on 0800 877 8277 to enquire about our services today.
For more information on keeping your workers safe from harm, read the blog post: Is your charity doing enough to protect its trustees?