Worker safety checklist

This is a list of indicators of potential worker safety issues.


An indicator of a person’s capacity for violence is their history of violence. Some indicators will be sufficient on their own to cause concerns for workers, while others may be less of a concern on their own, but are very concerning when they occur in combination with other factors.


Are these indicators present?

  • History of violence
  • Make veiled or overt threats
  • Tell others about their plans to initiate violence
  • Cause anxiety or unrest through aggressive behaviour
  • Sexually harass staff
  • Commit sexual assaults or arson
  • Send violent or sexual comments via email, voicemail or letter
  • Threaten or verbally abuse staff
  • Argue frequently and intensely
  • Noticeable mood swings or unprovoked outbursts
  • History of substance abuse
  • History of mental health issues
  • Escalating state of crisis
  • Associates you do not know or whom you consider problematic
  • Isolated, remote or vulnerable areas (for example, high-rise flats, farms or isolated properties, the client’s workplace) and where mobile phone coverage is poor
  • Is the impact of intervention likely to precipitate violence (for example, breach of order, removal of children)?
  • Involved with several services (for example, Child Protection, Youth Justice, Police, mental health, Disability Services or community service organisations)
  • Refuse to cooperate
  • Fascination with weapons or military hardware, or display or use weapons
  • Condition that has been associated with an increased potential for violence (for example, paranoid schizophrenia)
  • Unstable family life
  • Tend to be solitary, with poor peer relationships
  • Blame others for all difficulties
  • Make strange and exotic claims (losing touch with reality)
  • Throw, sabotage or steal equipment or property
  • Talk about self-harm or suicide
  • Demonstrate ‘cries for help’ in some way
  • Complaining regularly about provision of services


Indicators of imminent violence

Are these indicators present?

  • Threatening violence
  • Is there a heightened level of anxiety or depression?
  • Rapid breathing, clenched fists or teeth, flaring of nostrils, flushing, loud talking or chanting, restless and repetitive movements, pacing, or violent gestures, such as pointing
  • Swearing excessively or using sexually explicit language
  • Refusing to cooperate
  • Showing signs of rapid mood swings