'Violence at work' incidents double as Sunderland City Council records 755 cases in 2018/19
Incidents of ‘violence at work’ more than doubled last year according to the latest figures from Sunderland City Council.
The city council’s annual Health and Safety Report recorded 755 violent incidents in 2018/19, up from 369 the year before and 341 in 2016/17.
But city bosses have stressed the spike is partly due to improved recording, which sees ‘members of the public’ and other ‘dangerous occurrences’ included in statistics for the first time alongside council workers.
And last year also saw a fall in the total number of incidents, including accidents and ‘work related ill health’, which had to be referred to the government’s Health and Safety Executive.
Coun Paul Stewart, the city council’s cabinet secretary, said: “Health and safety is always a top priority for the council and this is why this comprehensive report is published.
“The council always encourages staff to report incidents as they are entitled to perform their duties free from violence, harassment or abuse.”
The report is due to be discussed at a cabinet meeting on September 17 and includes details of eight ‘Significant Health and Safety Incidents’ which happened in 2018/19.
Among these was a rusty lamp post in Roker Park brought down by gale force winds.
Liberal Democrat campaigner Malcolm Bond, who has failed in two successive rounds of local elections to gain a council seat in Sunderland’s Fulwell ward, called the report ‘grim reading’.
He said: “Some of these are accidents or issues with weather and the like which obviously can’t be helped or predicted.
“But what is really worrying is that cast-iron lights in Roker Park were blown over and could easily have hit someone all because they weren’t maintained properly for years.
“Instead of wasting money on vanity projects no-one wants or needs, like millions on a new Civic Centre on the Vaux site, Sunderland City Council must get a grip and make sure they get the basics right.”
Coun Stewart, of the ruling Labour group, added: “As the minority opposition group, the Liberal Democrats ought to be aware that providing day to day services for the young, elderly and vulnerable, and investing in our city after coalition Government cuts and austerity are not vanity projects.”