Workplace aggression

The escalation of workplace aggression must be prevented at all times, as this type of behaviour seriously impacts the overall sense of safety among workers. Aggressive behaviour ranges from verbal to physical and mental abuse. This course provides insight in the mechanisms behind this type of conduct as well as concrete tips to help eliminate these situations.


Aggressive behaviour: Where to draw the line?

Workplace aggression is verbal or physical behaviour towards co-workers that crosses the line of acceptable behaviour and where the affected person experiences a sense of threat. This type of behaviour, whether deliberate or not, can cause a lot of harm. Achieving a consensus on what constitutes aggressive behaviour can be difficult, as each person has different boundaries. In addition, not every aggressor is aware of the fact that their behaviour is unacceptable.

Types of workplace aggression

Verbal aggression: yelling, cursing, heated arguments, discriminatory remarks

Physical aggression: shoving, hitting, destroying belongings, stealing

Mental aggression: verbal or written threats, blackmail, humiliation

Workplace aggression can take place on two levels: internally and externally. Internal aggression is aggressive behaviour from colleagues and direct supervisors. External aggression is aggressive behaviour from clients, suppliers, students, etc.

Consequences of workplace aggression

Source: Eurofound report (Van Den Berg, 2010) on workplace aggression

Source: Eurofound report (Van Den Berg, 2010) on workplace aggression

According to data from the National Survey on Working Conditions conducted in 2008, up to 2% of employees in the Netherlands take one or more days off work each year due to workplace aggression. Within that group, 1 in 3 workers is absent from work for up to four weeks or longer. The consequences of workplace aggression can be devastating:

  • health problems after 1 or 2 years
  • feeling less joy, less commitment and less job satisfaction in the workplace
  • reduced performance at work (poor concentration, increased irritability, more prone to making mistakes, reduced quality of work, reduced productivity)
  • greater turnover of workers

Mensura will advise you

  • Teach your employees how to effectively deal with incidents of aggression.

  • Record all incidents as required by law so that the necessary measures can be taken to prevent future incidents.


  • A healthier and safer work environment by implementing or optimising prevention measures  to combat workplace aggression.

  • Workers learn to identify aggressive behaviour more easily and know how to deal with it appropriately.

  • Psychosocial stress caused by workplace aggression will be prevented or reduced.

  • Workers feel more supported and motivated, which will increase productivity levels.

Mensura will train your employees