TWELVE people were bitten as violent and aggressive incidents towards Barnsley Council staff increased by 56 per cent last year - with the majority of attacks taking place on school grounds.

The council’s annual health and safety report revealed that a total of 86 violent incidents took place last year against its staff - an increase from 38 the previous year.

There were no logged incidents against secondary school staff, however there were 48 instances of primary school staff being attacked - triple the previous year’s figures.

It also meant that the number of ‘days lost’ due to aggression rose to 16.

The council put the sharp rise down to a ‘return to the classroom’ as kids began to attend school instead of working from home during the Covid pandemic.

The report states: “There is a higher incidence of ‘violent’ incidents within place, people and schools.

“This reiterates the need for an assessment to be carried out on clients when receiving any service ranging from social care to compulsory education to ascertain their requirements from both the client’s and employee’s perspective.

Of the 86 violent incidents, 40 saw no physical injury to the member of staff involved in the altercation.

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However 11 resulted in bruising, ten in distress and a cut, three in a sprain and 12 incidents even ended in a bite.

Physical violence accounted for 55 per cent of the occurrences.

The report added: “Our firm ‘zero tolerance’ policy towards violence and aggression to staff has been used effectively in holding perpetrators to account.

“By its nature work cannot be entirely hazard-free.

“However, it can be managed to minimise risks and the effects on employees.

“Therefore, we need robust management systems to ensure that we manage health and safety in an appropriate and proportionate manner.”