This month's British Retail Crime Survey showed a 28% increase in offences involving abuse or violence against shopworkers, leading Usdaw, which described the results as very worrying, to complain of derisory sentences for those few offenders who are prosecuted.
Now the TUC has warned that this is not only an issue in the retail industry as it released details of a poll which found that one in eight people have experienced violence at work.
Carried out by YouGov for the unions, the poll reveals that 12% of people have experienced work-related violence including being pushed or spat on, or being punched or stabbed.
Of even greater concern, the TUC said, was that one in five (20%) of those who have experienced violence in their workplace say that it has happened more than 10 times.
Although, as Usdaw has demonstrated, there is a real problem in the retail industry, at 9% the percentage of those reporting violence is well behind the worst affected sectors such as medicine and health (22%) and education (12%).
The TUC has calculated this could mean as many as 870,000 medical and health workers and 470,000 workers in education could have experienced violence while carrying out their jobs.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: "Workplace violence is far too common in the UK. These disturbing findings show that millions of people are likely to experience violence and intimidation at some point in their working life — with A&E staff, nurses, teachers, hotel receptionists and shop workers particularly at risk."
There is no excuse for physically assaulting someone, she concluded, and workplaces must be safe for everyone.