Occupational health and safety specialists CE Safety analyzed data from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and figures from Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) in the U.K.

HSE released the most recent annual data on violent incidents in the workplace, which was collected up to 18th of March 2020. 688,000 incidents of violence took place in the workplace in the U.K. – 389,000 of which were threats and 299,000 were assaults - comparable to 739,000 incidents the year previous.

Looking at the figures from Usdaw, after surveying 2,700 staff members, CE Safety found that 88% of workers had experienced verbal abuse, 60% had been threatened by a customer, and 9% had been subjected to assault. 

Usdaw also saw abuse of shop workers doubled in the first month of the pandemic; and this trend didn’t slow down as time went on. Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) also believes that there is still more abuse of shopworkers that goes unreported and has petitioned the U.K. Government to realize the scale of the problem. 

The HSE’s pre-pandemic report showed that the professions with the highest number of workplace violence was the protective services, followed by the caring services. Since Covid-19 came along, frontline workers across the board have been put at greater risk. According to World Health Organization (WHO), those most likely to be subject to violence and aggression are personnel in the healthcare sector, all public facing staff, police and security workers.