Workplace violence in services sectors and measures to combat this phenomenon

This code focuses on the prevention of workplace violence and its direct adverse consequences. The objective of this code of practice is to provide general guidance in addressing the problem of workplace violence in services sectors. The code is intended to serve as a basic reference tool for stimulating the development of similar instruments at the regional, national, sectoral, enterprise, organization and workplace levels, specifically targeted at and adapted to different cultures, situations and needs.

Code of practice | 15 October 2003
The code covers such key areas of action on workplace violence as: policy; hazard identification; risk assessment; prevention and control; training; management and mitigation of the impact; care and support of workers affected; monitoring and evaluation. This code applies to all areas of economic activity in the public and private services sectors.

This code should be used to: develop practical responses at the workplace, enterprise, organization, sectoral, national, regional and international levels; promote processes of dialogue, consultation, negotiation and all forms of cooperation among governments, employers, workers and their representatives, as well as other concerned stakeholders as appropriate; give guidance in developing national laws, policies and programmes of action; in workplace, enterprise, organization and sectoral agreements; and in workplace policies and plans of action.

There are some consequences of workplace violence, which may include stress, although stress is a concept which, for some, is not clearly definable. For some parties, consideration of the prevention and aftermath of workplace violence is a human resources management issue, for others it is a safety and health issue.

The primary emphasis for governments, employers, workers and their representatives in dealing with these challenges is to establish and pursue a proactive approach taking into consideration the occupational safety and health management systems approach. Such systems seek to prevent problems through policy, organizing, planning, implementation, monitoring and review, with the aim of enhancing the work environment and organizational efficiency.