Zero Tolerance -Does it Equal Zero Incidents?

Zero Tolerance is a blunt tool for managing the complex issues of violence risks says Maybo Chairman, Bill Fox. He believes more sophisticated solutions achieve better results.

Our understanding and management of violence risks has moved forward over the past ten years, as we start to learn which strategies and control measures work best for dealing with work-related violence.

Zero Tolerance has played a part in raising awareness amongst staff working in customer-facing roles that verbal abuse or being assaulted is not ‘part of the job’. It also sends a clear message to service users, with the capacity to understand, that it is not acceptable to express their frustration or dissatisfaction by verbally abusing or assaulting members of staff.

Failure to tackle the root cause of the problem it is intended to address, which often involves a complex range of issues that need to be better understood to be effectively managed, could be considered a flaw in the campaign. It means ‘Zero Tolerance’ can amount to little more than rhetoric in the absence of a considered strategy.  It can also fuel an adversarial relationship between staff and customers/service users, which generates even more conflict. 

There is now a move away from focusing on problem individuals to more considered organisational approaches in violence risk management, consistent with the World Health Organisation model of Primary, Secondary and Tertiary controls. This requires identifying and understanding where the problems lie and their causes and then focusing on how these can be prevented. Prevention measures can include reducing conflict flashpoints by delivering positive and professional service and reducing exposure to risk through safer working practices and procedures.

A truly effective violence reduction strategy must be based on the risks your staff and your organisation face.

Posted by Maybo on November 13, 2018


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