SEOUL, Sept. 8 (Korea Bizwire) – A new survey has revealed nearly 8 in 10 repairmen have experienced both physical and verbal violence from customers during house visits.
The shocking findings come from a survey conducted by a collective action for technical service workers with a sample of 796 repairmen, in which 614 respondents answered they have felt their ‘safety or life was in danger’ due to physical and/or verbal violence from clients.
Some cases included physical attacks involving extremely dangerous tools from knives and hammers to drills and saws, or even liquor bottles from drunk customers, and other respondents reported being slapped in the face or grabbed by the throat.
Last June in North Chungcheong Province, an internet technician was stabbed to death during a house visit to install an internet modem, sparking debate and calls for protective measures to be introduced for the safety of repairmen and technicians.
According to the survey, not much is done after a repairman receives threats from clients, as a mere 82 respondents said their companies stepped into help them, accounting for just over 14 percent.
In the meantime, 481 respondents said they took care of the incidents ‘by themselves’, accounting over 85 percent.
Among the 481 respondents who dealt with violent clients on their own, 332 people said their company did little to nothing even after being notified of what had happened.
While 83 people said they didn’t let the company know, 41 said they were forced to apologize after their company sided with the clients, and 23 were even scolded by their superiors despite being a victim.
“The capability of workers to defend themselves is often limited since they usually work at a client’s home. As there is no one else to witness any interactions, customers tend to feel they can get more violent,” said the researchers.
When asked about what can be done, many suggested giving workers the right to refuse a job when they don’t feel safe, or offering protection to workers visiting customers at their homes, while others called for the formation of two-person work teams.
A three-strikes policy for rogue customers was also suggested.
The collective action is expected to discuss the findings from the survey in a special meeting on Friday.
Ashley Song (firstname.lastname@example.org)