Any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at work is referred to as workplace violence.
Threats and verbal abuse are common, as are physical attacks and even homicide. Employees, clients, consumers, and tourists may be affected and involved.
In the United States, acts of violence and other injuries are the third-leading cause of fatal occupational injuries.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), 458 of the 5,147 fatal workplace injuries that occurred in the United States in 2017 were the result of another person’s deliberate injury.
How to Prevent Workplace Violence
1. Make a harassment-prevention policy.
Persistent persecution, bullying, and/or unsettling behavior that intimidates others is referred to as harassment.
It creates a hostile work atmosphere, and the behavior is frequently used as a warning sign of impending violence.
As a result, establishing a harassment-prevention policy is a critical step in avoiding the likelihood of violence.
This policy should provide a set of processes for dealing with workplace concerns in a timely and confidential manner.
It’s critical to include managers, employees, and executives at all levels of the facility when developing this policy.
2. Conduct thorough background checks on new hires.
The first step in preventing workplace violence is to hire the right people. A thorough background check on potential employees (after they accept a job offer) can uncover if they have a violent history.
If anything comes up, ask for an explanation and double-check that it matches the report.
You may decide to rescind the employment offer if they have just been convicted of a violent crime in order to avoid such behavior in your workplace.
3. Establish a clear line of communication.
Preventing workplace violence requires effective communication.
If your employees have access to a workplace communication network, it can help them understand, recognize, and report early signals of potential violence, rather than sweeping them under the rug and returning to work.
They will feel more responsible to communicate if they have access to conflict-resolution resources.
Additionally, maintaining an open line of communication with management, HR, and other key people of your firm will aid in the creation of an environment in which employees may ensure that their complaints are heard and addressed appropriately.
4. Create a zero-tolerance policy for violence.
Create firm policies that empower your staff to report violent and harassing behaviors, as well as other signals of danger, to prevent workplace violence.
This type of policy minimizes unwanted employee behavior and eliminates the possibility of partiality – supervisors must enforce the policy consistently and swiftly, regardless of who breaches it.
Ascertain that all employees are aware of the ramifications of breaching the policy. This clear position demonstrates your company’s commitment to violence prevention.
5. Ensure that confrontations do not escalate into harassment or violence.
Situations that are tense, such as layoffs or firings, might elicit a lot of rage. Anger can sometimes lead to a desire to “get even.”
You can help prevent these arguments from becoming violent by notifying workers and building security of the furious departure as soon as possible to prepare them for escalation.
This enables them to keep an eye out for ex-employees who return without permission and be better prepared to intervene if necessary.