Shock toll of attacks at work in Doncaster

The Hesley Village in Stripe Road, Tickhill, Doncaster.
The Hesley Village in Stripe Road, Tickhill, Doncaster.
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An organisation which helps young people with special needs has suffered the highest number of assaults on its staff in Doncaster, we can reveal.

Figures obtained by our newspaper under the Freedom of Information Act reveal 15 workers at the Hesley Group, which runs schools and a residential village for people with autism, were assaulted in the course of their jobs over a 12-month period.

They were among 47 people attacked while doing their jobs across the borough in total.

The total at Hesley was reported as at either Hesley Group or Fullerton House School, in Denaby.

The figure is higher than that reported at the borough’s prisons, where across all sites five staff were assaulted in 2012-13, according to figures from the Health and Safety Executive.

The figures list the physical assaults reported to the HSE under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences regulations.

Other employers who reported assaults over the same period included a bus company, a bank, two schools and a motor trade organisation. No police assaults are recorded on the list.

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said unless police assaults reach a certain level of seriousness, they are investigated internally.

The injuries attributed to assaults at the Hesley sites were all described as being suffered by employees.

They included fractured fingers, serious injuries to an eye, and bruises to the face. Some are described as causing strains and sprains. Two staff were described as suffering multiple injuries.

Five assaults on staff were reported on officers at Doncaster’s prisons, with injuries including bruising. One staff member at Lindholme reported multiple injuries.

Another five were reported at the Cheswold Park Hospital, which is a secure mental health unit, with staff injuries including strains and sprains.

Three security staff were assaulted at Doncaster Magistrates’ Court. The workers, from GEOAmey PECS, sustained bruising in each case.

Three incidents were also recorded at Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber Healthcare Foundation Trust, which cares for people with mental health issues. One person suffered multiple injuries.

The charity Autism Plus also recorded three injuries due to assaults.

Two schools reported assaults. A member of staff at Hawthorne Primary School suffered broken fingers, and another at the Cusworth Centre suffered a bruised neck, keeping them off work.

Two pubs reported attacks on staff members. One was at The Lonsdale, on Sandringham Road, where a staff member suffered a broken hand. The other, at The Crown Hotel, suffered a fractured limb, according to the data.

Bus firm Stagecoach reported an employee at its Bircotes base suffering a fractured hand as a result of an assault.

A staff member at Lloyds Bank on Beckett Road suffered cuts to a limb in an attack.

And an assault on a worker at Doncaster Royal Infirmary was reported as causing a broken limb.

Chris McSharry, chief executive of Hesley Group, defended the organisation’s record on assaults on staff.

He said: “We provide services to people with severe learning disabilities, autism, complex communication needs and behaviour that challenges.

“Our staff are trained to support these people to achieve a meaningful and fulfilling lifestyle through a balanced risk approach, excellent risk management and positive behaviour support programmes.

“We are a major employer in Doncaster, employing over 1,200 staff. Our ultimate goal is to have no staff injuries. We have seen a significant reduction in recent times.

“Any injury to our staff causes us serious concern and we remain committed to continuous improvement in the rate of accidents and injuries. We have excellent systems in place to manage health and safety including in-depth training and professional health and safety management processes.”