Over 1 million shopworkers have been assaulted, threatened or abused in the last year according to the results from Usdaws annual survey of violence at work.

The survey shows that in the past 12 months, 6% of shopworkers were subjected to violent attacks, 37% were threatened with harm and 70% had suffered verbal abuse. While reported incidents of assault are slightly down, incidents of threats and abuse have increased since last year.

John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary said: “These figures are once again quite shocking.

“Our Freedom from Fear campaign, working in partnership with employers, government, police and other agencies, has made a real difference. However, the sad fact remains that every minute of every working day a shopworker is verbally abused, threatened with violence or physically attacked. It is simply unacceptable.

“We need to improve peoples’ attitude toward shopworkers to tackle the root of the problem. Too many people still think working in retail is not a proper job and that this somehow gives them the right to abuse shopworkers with impunity. Shopworkers are mothers, sons, sisters, grandparents, working hard to earn a living just like in any other workplace. They should never have to fear going to work nor face violence, threats or abuse for doing their job.”

Lord Young’s health and safety review, published on Friday, made a recommendation to “Simplify the risk assessment procedure for low hazard workplaces such as offices, classrooms and shops.”

John Hannett said: “Shops are not the most dangerous of workplaces but there are over a million shopworkers who can tell Lord Young they are certainly not ‘non-hazardous’.”