Protecting people, protecting the brand

Health & Safety legislation is clear on the requirement to provide, “such information, instruction, training and supervision as is necessary to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety at work of his employees.” (The Health & Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, S.2(c)). The conundrum often faced by organisations is the scope, reach & type of instruction required to meet this outcome. This is compounded by The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 (adhering to “reliable industry guidance in this area”).

However, the findings in Josephine Mitchell & Others v United Co-operatives Limited [2012] EWCA Civ348, where employers must demonstrate the adequacy or otherwise of their risk assessments and counter-measures (including training) that engage with mechanisms that are utilised to minimise the risk to personal safety, provides a more pragmatic focus. In other words, resourcing to risk.

Thus, high-risk locations, more often than not, require an intervention that relies on the inclusion of accelerated adult learning (including, amongst others, simulations, trainer led debriefs & individual action plans). Medium & lower-risk locations would require other interventions congruent with the downgraded risk matrix.

Return on investment is key although some stakeholders may often view a classroom-based event as a costlier option (often suggesting online training). However, in reality the TFS offer saves a significant amount of money. In relation to assaults on staff, getting it wrong can have colossal consequences both in terms of on-costs and reputation.

Digital learning is a powerful tool if used appropriately. But the types of injurious risks faced by staff at high-risk business locations will inevitably be accompanied by the human stress response that can only be adequately explored and managed by classroom-based trainer led simulations. Without this training cognitive directives (e.g. written policy or lists of “dos & don’ts”) simply become redundant as the brain temporarily loses its ability to process logic in the normal manner.

The following table provides compelling evidence of this observation:

 Violence: The cost to the Retail Sector: The following costs of a typical violent incident are claimed by Chappell & Martino based on their empirical research data gathered from the examination of the full range of aggressive work based violent acts including murder, assaults, sexual harassment, threats, bullying, and verbal abuse. It should be noted that the following data does not include, legal fees or compensation costs nor the broader issues of impact on the individual (stress/trauma) and the community. 


Absence £6,972
Replacement costs £7,500
Investigator's time for grievance investigation £2,110
Local management line-management time £1,847
Head Office personnel £2,600
Corporate officers' time (including staff welfare) £2,100
Cost of disciplinary process £3,780
Witness interview costs £1,200
Total costs (minimum) £28,109)

 (Chappell, D., & Martino, V. (2006). Violence at Work (Third edition). International Labour Office, Geneva, Switzerland).

 The following TFS data supports continued ROI:

  • In 2006 the TFS Personal Safety programme for managers was credited with reducing assaults on partners by 80% and reducing incidents of public disorder by 81% (source: Robert Newman, Head of Waitrose Security).

  • “A significant improvement in store shrinkage figures of 20% have been reflected by managers who have attended the development programme. Ongoing evaluation processes have captured an increased level of confidence, application and flexibility. The latter observation is supported by the manner in which some managers have used the skills contained within the Security Interview Techniques programme, for example, to conduct appraisals and recruitment interviews.

    The accurate reporting of disorder has seen a healthy 40% increase. Robberies - often the most traumatic of violent incidents - fell by one third due to increased vigilance.” (source: Terry Poole, Head of Profit Protection, Sainsbury’s).

 The TFS offer