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HSE Publications


HSE Publications

In many organisations and industries across the world, managers create policies and working practices to ensure the safety of their staff and customers, service users and general public. In the UK these policies must be created by law and failure to do so can result in litigation, fines or even a custodial sentence for those responsible. Bearing this in mind, one might believe that organisations and companies of every size would ensure the policies and working practices they create are fit for purpose and legally defensible, right?


Many managers don’t have the necessary knowledge, experience or understanding of the law, the job role and the dangers to staff in order to create suitable and sufficient risk assessments, policies and safe working practice, but create them anyway. Quite often the policy created is done so with the best intent, but sometimes doesn’t go far enough to protect those owed a duty of care. One classic example of this is the omission of controlling techniques, or pain compliance when discussing restraint. It is often deemed illegal or unethical to deliberately cause a person pain when they’re being restrained, regardless of the need.

The issue here isn’t the deliberate causing of pain, but the justification for its use. If the short sharp pain delivered through a lock or pressure point prevents a greater harm from occurring, it cannot be argued that the controlling technique is either illegal or unethical. After all, pain compliance techniques, if delivered correctly, do not cause any lasting damage. In fact, the pain subsides as soon as the technique is relaxed or the pressure point is released.

The issue of controlling techniques is an emotive one, and regardless of the legal stance on the use of controlling techniques, many organisations won’t use them as it can ‘tarnish’ the image of being a caring establishment. This is a clear example of the best intent but little or no knowledge of the subject being used to create policy. Unfortunately the people that are harmed by this are usually the staff and service user; the people the policy was supposed to protect in the first place.

At COVIC Training Solutions we aim only to keep people safe and informed. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has produced a number of publications to provide advice and guidance to organisations when discussing workplace violence. Below is a number of links to some of those HSE publications in relation to workplace violence and how to combat it effectively and legally. There is no charge for accessing these publications, either from the HSE publications site or the COVIC Training Solutions site. These resources are here for you in order that you might be better informed, whether that’s for your own use or to help in the creation of fit for purpose policy and safe systems of work.

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