An incident reporting system as a tool in the management of work-related violence
This thesis concerns the gathering, interpretation and use of information pertaining to work-related violence as a risk to the health and safety of staff. It considers incident reporting systems in particular, and describes work carried out to extend the usefulness of such a system operating within the licensed retail trade. Information obtained from the system falls into two categories. First, information about the reporting system itself includes the benefits and limitations of incident reporting as a diagnostic tool for the occurrence of violence, and the use of complementary methods to enhance its effectiveness; the design of a report form that elicits more detail than is required by national reporting; the evolution of a flexible and easily expandable coding scheme; and the usefulness of innovative pathway and survival techniques in the treatment of the violent incident as a developing situation. Second, information about violent incidents within licensed premises concerns characteristics of reported incidents; the dynamic nature of incidents; common pathways through violent incidents; the relation of the outcomes of incidents to other features; the timing of incidents; and the perceived seriousness of the reported incidents. Key findings include the role of every-day situations and ordinary objects used as weapons; the pivotal importance of intervention by staff, particularly in challenging customer misbehaviour; a system memory effect that increases the likelihood of a further incident occurring during the days and weeks following a reported incident at the same premises; and the variety of features that contribute to the seriousness rating given to an incident by the members of staff involved. The methods and findings have implications for academic research, for the organisational management of work-related violence and for the day-to-day management of licensed premises. Primarily, they can be used in devising strategies to reduce the risks to staff.