25 November 2014

We are increasingly used to seeing notices in public workplaces warning that physical or verbal assaults on staff will be treated with zero tolerance but the latest figures suggest that the message is not getting through.

According to Usdaw, in the last 12 months, over 300 frontline retail staff were assaulted every day.

General Secretary John Hannett said: "Too often retail employees are confronted with violence, threats and abuse and it is really important we stand together and ask people to keep their cool and respect shopworkers."

The union is particularly angry that staff are often faced with violence when trying to upheld the law, by preventing under-age purchases of products such as knives, tobacco and alcohol.

Shopworkers are not alone in facing a rising tide of abuse; new statistics from NHS Protect show a rise of 8.7% in the total of reported assaults on hospital staff — from 63,199 in 2012/13 to 68,683 in 2013/14.

UNISON head of health, Christina McAnea, said: "It is absolutely shocking that every day more than 188 NHS workers are physically attacked. The fact this figure is rising year on year should ring alarm bells."

Both employers and the police need to take these incidents seriously, she warned, highlighting that too often violence on NHS premises goes unreported.

From Paul Clarke, business writer for Croner