What is Physical Intervention Training

What is Physical Intervention Training

19:37 05 April in Uncategorized

What is physical intervention? And do your staff need it?


The mere mention of the words brings images of pyjama clad ninjas roaming the corridors of your workplace ready to deal with challenging customers in a most ninja like way.


That is quite a common response we get from clients when we ask if their employees have had physical intervention training. ” We don’t want our staff grabbing or hitting anybody” or ” that would make us liable for their actions “.


These responses also very much assumptions and not entirely true. When we train with frontline staff we are commonly told about physical attacks they have suffered such as pushing, spitting, grabbing or even striking. These are physical attacks on your employees as an employer/ manager you are responsible for their safety. Therefore, by not providing them with realistic strategies to protect themselves you may also be leaving yourself open to liability.


Let’s take a look at physical intervention skills in context. Physical intervention skills are one subset of an overall risk reduction strategy required to keep employees safe. This strategy starts long before an employee finds themselves in such a situation. It begins with having robust policies, procedures and risk assessments in place to guide and support your employees and to prevent the outbreak of conflict.

At the next level there are the soft skills of conflict management such as de-escalation and verbal dissuasion or support skills. Performed correctly the vast majority of conflict can be controlled at these levels.

However, we must also accept that there will be certain tasks, roles or situations that employees may encounter where a higher level of response is required albeit temporarily to ensure their safety.

It is at this level that physical intervention skills fit into the strategy. Physical intervention is an emergency response which can be utilised when the other levels have not worked. As we all know though emergency responses work much better when they are planned and practiced beforehand. This why we perform fire drills and first aid training. We hope these things never happen but if they do we have employees who are trained and competent in managing them.


The other common misconception is that physical intervention skills always involve grabbing, striking or injuring another person. This is simply not the case. Our physical intervention skillset includes a range of solutions for protecting staff and the public and hurting nobody. These skills can include techniques for employees to disengage from grabs or avoid assault in the first instance. If a higher level of risk is encountered, we can guide or control the aggressor safely without any injury. Even if the few cases where holding is required we have strategies to safely contain aggressors with limited harm to all parties.


When put like that doesn’t it sound like a much safer option than turning a blind eye and hoping your staff don’t do anything silly.


Physical intervention training isn’t for everybody. But if you have employees who you know face a risk of physical violence in the course of their duty then it could be for you. Used as part of an overall violence reduction strategy physical intervention can greatly increase both your staff and customer safety.


If you would like more information on risk assessment or to discuss your options around physical intervention training call us today on 091 534918


Tony O'Brien