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Housing staff feel ‘less safe’ at work compared to last year

29 June 2016
 June 29, 2016

According to research undertaken by Inside Housing magazine in June 2016, one in four social housing workers feel less safe doing their job this year, compared to last year. Focusing on 41 housing associations and 198 Councils across the UK, the survey revealed that 20% of respondents do not believe that their employer does enough to protect them.

Frontline housing workers expressed their concern at the idea of landlords making savings by cutting staff numbers. 35% of respondents said that reducing staff numbers made it increasingly likely that they would work alone.

As outlined by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), housing staff often face difficult or hostile situations, including having to deliver bad news to tenants such as evictions, working late at night, and exposure to potentially violent or aggressive members of the public, such as drug users. Working alone increases the vulnerability of employees performing these tasks.

Alarmingly, the Inside Housing results also revealed that as many as 10 Councils simply do not report or record assaults against housing staff, claiming there is often the tendency to ‘shrug it off’ with the sense that its ‘part of the job’.

This stance could prove costly to employers. Now, more and more companies are being prosecuted via the Corporate Manslaughter Act, which is designed to make it easier for companies to be found guilty for deaths arising from management failures that constituted a gross breach of their Duty of Care.

The Sentencing Council guidelines state that a Corporate Manslaughter fine should be up to £20 million. Aside from monetary sanctions, there is also the possibility of courts imposing publicity orders which can tarnish reputations.

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