Workplace violence is a major health and safety phenomenon. We investigate whether body-worn cameras (BWCs) can achieve a cost-effective reduction of assaults. We conducted a randomized controlled trial with train stations exposed to the highest recorded assault rates against staff in England and Wales. Treatment members of staff were equipped with BWCs and control staff were unexposed to BWCs. Official records of assaults against treatment and control staff as well as against any employee at the station complexes are used as outcome measures. Results suggest 47% significant overall reduction in the odds of assaults against BWCs-equipped staff at treatment versus controls locations—or approximately two versus four assaults, on average, per station. In addition, we found a 26% significant reduction in assaults against all employees in the treatment versus control station complexes—9 versus 12 assaults, on average, per station—suggesting that BWCs have a spatial diffusion of benefits effects. We estimate that BWCs can reduce at least 3,000 working days per year lost because of physical violence at work. We conclude that BWCs provide substantial benefits for staff health and safety to those who are equipped with the devices as well as to staff in the vicinity of BWC-equipped employees.
- randomized controlled trial (RCT)
- train stations
- workplace violence
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