Handling cash is like handling radioactive material

Thursday, 04 March, 2004

Handling cash is as risky as handling radioactive material, according to Security Consultant Terry Flanders who was speaking at a major workplace safety conference, recently presented by the Safety Institute of Australia.

"The difference between radioactive material and cash is that instead of emitting harmful energy, cash attracts harmful energy in the form of offenders, and the larger the amount of cash, the stronger the attraction," he said. "Businesses and health and safety practitioners must acknowledge that cash is an active agent, and change their perception regarding cash related risk controls. Until they do, businesses that handle cash will continue to create opportunities for offenders who are intent on causing workplace violence."

Flanders described cash handling as a largely unrecognised workplace hazard, as the dynamics involved in assessing the risks relating to cash require a different perception than that usually employed by businesses and health and safety practitioners when assessing general hazards in the workplace.

He said that in NSW in 2002, more than 2000 robberies were committed on business or commercial premises, with the majority taking place in retail and wholesale premises and that business and commercial premises were twice as likely to be targets of robberies involving weapons and research suggested this trend was national. Flanders said that the offenders often have their own risk assessment procedure, observing staff procedures and awareness, security, escape routes and the reward on offer.

Research indicated that sites where money transactions occur, and people carry larger amounts of cash, were at increased risk. Flanders said WorkCover NSW required staff training to reduce the effects of post-traumatic stress and physical injury. The training included what staff could expect during a robbery attempt and what to do during and after the robbery.

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