Managing Violence and Robbery in the Workplace

Workplace SecurityBy being aware and having a plan in place before an act of violence occurs in your workplace, you will have a far greater chance of protecting yourself and other employees from harm.

Workplace Layout

  • Design your office/factory/store to discourage robbery and violence
  • Locate Cash Registers or POS terminals so they are clearly visible
  • Display minimum amounts of goods that are often targeted in robberies
  • Install security devices to monitor people in high risk areas in the premises (eg. mirrors in corners or ceilings)
  • Keep counters clear of heavy or sharp items that could be used as weapons
  • Use a high counter between reception person and the public or install screens
  • Position staff to avoid ‘blind spots’ where the public enters the premises

Security Devices

  • Use electronic sensors to alert staff that customers are entering or leaving the premises
  • Use security cameras
  • Offer staff personal protection devices, eg. personal duress alarms


  • Maintain a well lit interior and exterior to minimize hiding places

Doors and Windows

  • Secure rear and side external doors to restrict access
  • Organise an escape route for staff in the event of a violent attack
  • Use deadbolts for doors and key locks for windows

Safes and Money

  • Use drop safes and time delay safes
  • Encourage electronic forms of payment
  • Display signs to advise customers that minimal cash is held and time delay safes used


  • Design safety procedures that protect you and your staff
  • Always follows the procedures and never chastise staff if they use the procedures, even if it is a false alarm
  • Provide training and written procedures so everyone is prepared
  • Teach employees how to deal with customers politely
  • Show employees how to deal with confrontational customers
  • Train employees how to pick up on signs of anger and tension from customers
  • Educate employees on how to be aware of their surroundings
  • Inform staff that their own safety is paramount and that they should not put their own safety at risk in order to rotect goods or property
  • Train staff in non-violent responses to threatening situations
  • Teach staff about what they should do in the event of a robbery or shoplifting incident
  • Make sure staff are familiar with cash handling procedures and credit checks
  • Train staff how to raise the alarm and operate security equipment
  • Ask staff to take notes of any ‘odd’ occurrences – these notes may help to identify a future risk and ways to avoid it


  • Avoid opening and closing the shop/office/factory alone
  • Roster more staff and more experienced staff at high risk times (eg. night)
  • Minimize cash levels
  • Use cash handling procedures that make cash less visible
  • Transfer cash to bank regularly, at irregular times, by different routes and where possible with two people
  • If dealing with large sums of cash use professional security services to transfer money
  • Work with neighbouring businesses to reduce risks in your area
  • If working after hours encourage staff to walk to carpark in groups, or be escorted to their vehicle by security staff

About the Author

Safety Concepts is an online resource providing up to date insights and covering issues in the field of Workplace Safety.

Comments (1)

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  1. Melissa Littleford says:

    Your Topic: Managing workplace violence and robbery.

    Well speaking from my experience in my workplace where a ‘culture of blame exists’ and for approximately 2 years ‘someone was stealing things’. For example, money from the front office draw, Chocolate money from the fridge, a Gold watch from the top of the Kitchen Sink, Book order collection (the ones that people leave), food from the Kitchen etc. Anyway, How was this stealing managed, well it wasn’t. I enquired into, “How come the Police were not involved?” I was quickly ignored and the reply was, “No we will handle it” Who do you tell if even the Area Manager does not listen? Who do you tell if the ‘blaming and intimidation goes even higher into the State levels of HR?” Who do you tell? Yes, i believe in a safe and healthy working environment – one that my Employer will protect me from physical violence and mental abuse (bullying and intimidation). Please note, these are my experiences i reserve the right for ‘freedom of speech’ as i am telling the truth. Does this sound reasonable?

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