Enhancing Safety: De-Escalation Training

Enhancing Safety: De-Escalation Training


Frontline public sector workers are at risk of experiencing violent and aggressive behaviour from the public, which can lead to physical and psychosocial harm. To mitigate this risk, agencies can provide de-escalation training to their staff, which equips them to handle such situations effectively.

De-escalation is the use of verbal and nonverbal communication to reduce or eliminate aggression and violence during the escalation phase of a person’s behaviour [1].  Training provides workers with the knowledge and understanding on how to identify unacceptable, aggressive, and violent behaviours are directed towards them and how they can take control and de-escalate any aggressive or abusive phone calls or verbal confrontations.

In 2022, when Worksafe Reps ceased trading, GHSL was unable to provide the short online foundational de-escalation workshop that was co-designed with them. This workshop was developed as part of the COVID-19 response for frontline public-sector workers who engage with the public over the phone or in a controlled work setting. This was extremely successful initiative with 18 courses offered to over 160 participants across more than 34 public and private sector agencies, excluding sector host agencies who hosted their own tailored workshops.

We are pleased to announce that New Zealand Council of Trade Unions (NZCTU) have taken over the Worksafe Reps, and after collaborating with them for the past few months, we have refreshed and updated the de-escalation workshop for the public and private sectors to now sign up for.

New 2024 De-escalation Workshop

This workshop is specifically tailored for frontline and call centre staff who interact with the public by phone or in a controlled environment, like a reception area. The 3.5-hour online session is divided into three segments, focusing on understanding de-escalation principles, handling confrontational situations, and safely disengaging when de-escalation tactics are ineffective. For more information go WorkSafe Reps(external link)

Costs: $150 per person +GST.

Please note - this workshop is not aimed at workers who may have to deal with physical aggression, threatening clients in an uncontrolled environment.

Below are some alternative de-escalation providers, we have identified a couple of training providers that have received favourable feedback from various public sector agencies over the last 12-24 months.  If you already have a provider and are happy with what they deliver in this space, please feel free to pass their information on to us at ghsl@mpi.govt.nz


[1] Ref.  Lavelle, M.  Stewart, D.  James, K. et el.  ‘Predictors of effective de-escalation in acute inpatient psychiatric settings’.  Journal of Clinical Nursing, 25 (2016), 2180-2188



IMPAC is a widely known training provider with over 20 years of experience in Health and Safety training, including de-escalation training.

Their half-day workshop equips front line workers with the necessary tools to de-escalate and manage aggressive or abusive verbal confrontations in the workplace and beyond.

This workshop enables attendees to understand the HSW Act and how it applies to de-escalation, practice applying techniques to recognise potentially aggressive behaviours, identify the body’s response to stress and how to apply the H.E.A.T model and S.T.A.M.P frameworks.

The workshop is available both online and in-person, to cater to your specific training requirements. Alternatively, public training workshops are regularly scheduled online and in person in Auckland and Wellington (and one regions based on demand).

Each public workshop accommodates a maximum of 16 participants and costs $245 + GST per student.

In-house training courses are also available upon request, with a cost of $2,500 + GST for up to 12 students, and $145 + GST for every additional student (up to a maximum of 16). Please check with the provider as there may be travel costs involved if the course is held outside of Auckland or Wellington.

For more information visit their website(external link) or call 0800 246 722.



For over 20 years, Total Risk has been specialist provider of personal safety and conflict de-escalation training. Their workshops focus on conflicts and other personal safety events that can significantly impact people's stress levels and wellbeing, leading to the loss of trained personnel and decreased productivity. Offering both face-to-face and online de-escalation workshops, available wherever you are located. You can choose from the following three de-escalation packages on offer:

1. Generic Induction (Online only)

  • Personal safety program for workers who have time restraints
  • Consists of 6 x 10-minute online videos for self-paced learning
  • Requires discussion points to be actioned with their supervisor
  • Cost: $50.00 + GST per person

2. Conflict De-escalation and Personal Safety Workshops (Face-to-Face only)

  • Ideal for 18 to 20 participants
  • Course content focuses on personal safety, assessing risk, disengaging, and withdrawing, basic conflict de-escalation, situational awareness, and reporting issues at an induction level
  • Discusses issues that involve workers who are travelling to external sites or visiting homes
  • Cost: $1,700 +GST per half day for training plus travel and accommodation if necessary (check with provider before booking).

3. Conflict De-escalation Korero Program (Online Workshop)

    • Ideal for 12 to 15 online participants
    • Bite-sized modules based around a Korero approach
    • Programme uses a coaching style approach through a series of 4 x 50-minute coaching video conference forums on de-escalating and minimising conflicts and personal safety at work
    • Enables participants to discuss these topics to increase learning, engagement, and behaviour change.
    • Korero 1 – Introduction to personal safety, minimising conflict, triggers and working with vulnerability.
      • Korero 2 – The conflict model.
      • Korero 3 – Human Factors and communication.
      • Korero 4 – Bringing it all together and Staying Well
    • Cost: $1,700 +GST per workshop

    For more information and to book, visit their website.(external link)

    Disclaimer: Please note that it is up to each organisation and agency to ensure that you conduct due diligence before engaging in any training provider to ensure that the training meets your needs and any NZQA unit standards you may require.