HDW

"20,000 employees suffer aggression at work every week"

The prevention and protection service at work, IDEWE, has discovered that one in nine Belgian employees experienced aggression at work.  The figure means that 20,000 Belgian employees are confronted with this experience every week.

Between 2016 and 2018 45,000 Belgian employees were quizzed about aggression.  11.4% spoke of experiencing aggression during the past six months.  Aggression exists in many forms: insulting behaviour, shouting matches and physical violence (11.4%). 1.3% of employees say that they experience this on a weekly basis.

Lode Godderis, research director at IDEWE, notes that 20,000 employees forms an important group.  Figures vary strongly per sector.  Aggression is most prevalent in typically "male professions" like construction and heavy industry, but also in the care and government sectors.

Employees in various sectors experience aggression in different ways.  In construction and heavy industry the aggression is often the result of internal conflicts.  In care and government victims are in contact with the general public, often in emotional situations.  Here the aggression comes from outside.

Lode Godderis believes it's important that businesses possess a policy to deal with aggression at work: "It's important that employees know what forms aggression and where they can report it."

In the event of an incident employees should meet with their boss.

"There should be a conversation immediately after the incident as well as a follow up conversation when the emotion has ebbed away.  In this way you can establish that there is no permanent impact on the employee’s welfare."