UNION

Carers suffer 6,000 serious injuries from violence at work

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09 Jun 2019
Press Office

Press Office

Care workers suffered more than 6,000 violent attacks resulting in serious injuries during the last five years, shocking new official figures show

The horrifying statistics, which were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, are being released as GMB’s Annual Congress begins in Brighton today [June 9, 2019].

Between the financial years 2013/14 to 2017/18, 6,034 violent attacks on care workers resulting in serious injury were reported to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). 

5,008 workers were so seriously injured they had to take at least seven days off work.

“These statistics are the tip of the iceberg – they only include the most serious injuries, and our members have to deal with violence on a daily basis.

Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer

A further 1,026 carers suffered a ‘specified’ injury – which can include fractures, loss of sight, brain damage, loss of consciousness, asphyxia, or amputation. [2]

The true rates are likely to be much higher, as the HSE warns that ‘non-fatal injuries are substantially under-reported.’ [3]

Violent attacks account for a third of reports for residential care workers – compared to just 7 per cent of reports for all workers.

GMB, the union for care workers, has helped launch an All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Care (APPG Social Care) to look at the care system, funding and state of staffing in the sector.

The union also entered into an agreement with care provider HC-One last summer to launch Careforce, a dedicated campaign to look at professionalisation, skills and the prestige of the care sector.

Care

Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer, said:

“Our members often tell us about the abuse they have to face at work - and these figures back them up.

“These statistics are the tip of the iceberg – they only include the most serious injuries, and our members have to deal with violence on a daily basis.

“But care work is much more than a job - our members love their work and want to carry on doing their best for those they look after.

“Unfortunately, our members are sometimes put under unacceptable pressure to keep working after an attack when they should be receiving care themselves.

“Care is crucial. For each of us individually, our parents, grandparents, kids, friends and neighbours, but too often the sector is overlooked and the people working in care treated less than the frontline professionals that they are.”

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