Today Suzy Lamplugh Trust is launching ‘Suzy’s Charter for Workplace Safety’ to help employers and employees make workplaces safer for everyone. Implementing the Charter’s simple steps can go a long way to ensuring that personal safety risks are identified and mitigated where possible.

Suzy Lamplugh Trust has worked with a wide variety of organisations over the last year including unions, large and small businesses as well as the police and employees themselves, to create a charter that makes it simple for organisations and the people they want to protect to fulfil their obligations to keep workers safe.

An estimated 374,000 adults of working age in employment experience violence at work annually, including threats and physical assault[i]. The human costs of personal safety incidents for employers are far-reaching and can amount to as much as £6,500 for non-fatal injuries and £12,300 for ill-health per case, due to loss of productivity, insurance claims, administrative and legal costs and health and rehabilitation costs. In the case of fatalities, costs can soar to almost £100,000.[ii]

The loss of quality-of-life to the individual can be even more damaging, with ongoing impacts on health and wellbeing, loss of confidence and inability to return to the workplace. In one incident an employee describes the devastating effect of an incident of violence on their life:

“I challenged a shoplifter in the store car park and he pulled a knife on me and held it to my throat. I was the security colleague on duty and I wasn’t issued with a radio or a personal attack alarm.  I now suffer from PTSD, anxiety and depression.”

Suky Bhaker, Acting CEO, Suzy Lamplugh Trust

‘It is unacceptable that anyone should face violence and aggression in any form whilst at work. We hope this Charter will help employees and employers create safer workplaces and we would encourage all organisations to work through the Charter a step at a time to make these important changes. Suzy Lamplugh Trust are ready to assist any organisation in the implementation of Suzy’s Charter.’

National Business Crime Centre:

‘Understanding and tackling violence and abuse in the workplace is a key objective for the National Business Crime Centre. We welcome evidence based initiatives from within industry and the charitable sector to contribute to this vital work and support the efforts of Suzy Lamplugh Trust. They have brought together both employers, employees and respective unions to raise awareness of these issues and identify a charter to help minimise the risk of violence.’

Dan Shears, National Health, Safety and Environment Director, GMB Union:

‘We strongly support Suzy’s Charter for Workplace Safety. GMB members work in a number of sectors where violence and aggression are known risks, and lone working is common. Suzy’s Charter gives clear guidelines on the steps that employers can take to reduce risks, and we will be doing our best to ensure that it is adopted in every workplace where we have members.’

James Lowman, Chief Executive, The Association of Convenience Stores:

'Convenience retailers are committed to ensuring the safety of their staff and have invested millions in crime prevention measures to protect their store and colleagues. We are proud to have collaborated on the development of the Charter, which will be a useful tool for retailers when thinking about the steps they can take to minimise risks and ensure that their staff feel safe and supported.

Retailers cannot tackle the problem of violence and abuse alone, they need to be supported by intervention from the Government, police and the justice system to tackle the root causes of offending, ensure that appropriate deterrents are in place and that perpetrators are brought to justice.'

Suzy’s Charter for Workplace Safety

  1. Embed a workplace personal safety culture
  • Employers can do this by ensuring regular consultation and dialogue with staff about the risks they face and the steps they would like to see implemented. This should counter any perceptions or acceptance by employees of violence and aggression being ‘part of the job’.
  • Employees must follow all safety policies and procedures provided by employers which support them to feel and be safer.
  1. Implement robust risk assessments
  • Employers must carry out regular risk assessments to mitigate risks for all employees and ensure compliance with legislation and guidance for the protection of the personal safety of workers.
  • Risk assessments[iii] should include specific consideration of lone workers[iv] as well as risks related to all specific environments that different staff work in, such as private homes, out of hours work in usually-populated workplaces, and remote locations etc.
  • Risk assessments should include consideration of all forms of violence, aggression, stalking and harassment, both online and offline. This should include behaviours motivated by prejudice on the basis of a worker’s personal characteristics or perceived personal characteristics (e.g. race, gender, identity etc.).
  • Risk assessments should include the impact of stress and mental health implications of violence and aggression connected to work.
  • Risk assessments should be regularly reviewed by the department responsible for personal safety, with employees to reflect the changing reality of their work.
  • Training should be implemented to ensure that all employees have understood the risk assessment once written.
  • Dynamic risk assessments should also be carried out to take account of any temporary changes in the work environment or nature of the work.
  1. Provide robust reporting procedures
  • Employers should provide access to reporting tools for all employees, including remote workers and options to report anonymously, to enable immediate and reactive reporting of all personal safety incidents relating to, or impacting on, work.
  • Reporting procedures should include incident follow-up with employees to ensure employee wellbeing and wider risk mitigation for the organisation, as well as sign-posting to support services where required.
  • Employees and employers should be encouraged to report incidents to the police.
  1. Provide personal safety training
  • Employers should train[v] all employees in preparing for and responding to personal safety risks i.e. violence and aggression related to work, as well as skills in conflict de-escalation, to support and embed policies and procedure, according to specific risk assessments.
  1. Implement a tracing system
  • A designated colleague, called a ‘buddy’, should always be informed about the whereabouts and contact details of a specific employee while they are lone working, including out of normal office hours.
  • Employers should ensure employees share contact details of the person they are meeting with their buddy. This should include travel details, the exact location (e.g. coffee shop, flat/room number and block name etc) and time of appointment as well as name and contact details of the person they are meeting where relevant.
  • Have a clear procedure to follow if a colleague does not return or check in when expected with clear lines of escalation inside and outside the organisation.
  1. Have a system in place for colleagues to covertly raise the alarm
  • Enable employees to alert colleagues in case of an emergency while working alone e.g. use of a code word, panic alarm installed in the workplace etc.
  • Where possible have discreet lone worker devices available or provide access to an alert system to covertly call for immediate help even in areas without phone signal.
  1. Offer staff a personal safety alarm according to their risk assessment
  • Depending on the outcome of risk assessments, employees should be offered a personal safety alarm which they carry to distract an aggressor where appropriate and aid escape from a personal safety incident.
  1. Regularly consult on and review safety policies and procedures with employees.

Keep these updated, inform staff and provide access to, and training on, all personal safety measures available.


Information for editors

Suzy Lamplugh disappeared during a working day in 1986 and was never seen again. Her body was never found and she was officially declared dead in 1993. The Suzy Lamplugh Trust exists to ensure that what happened to Suzy does not happen to anyone else. We do this by campaigning, educating and supporting people to Live Life Safe. 

For advice on any aspect of the charter and its implementation please contact Suzy Lamplugh Trust on [email protected], Tel: 020 7091 0014

[i]; average values for 2016/17


[iii] Employers should follow HSE guidance on risk assessments.

[iv] Lone working is defined by the HSE as ‘those who work by themselves without close or direct