Chuck Harder & Associates
Workplace Violence

Workplace Violence: What You Need to Know

Workplace violence is a very serious issue that employers can not ignore. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), around two million Americans are victims of workplace violence each year. This number continues to rise. Workplace violence can take many forms including physical assault, verbal abuse, harassment and even homicide. Not only is this a human toll, but this can also result in financial and legal consequences for businesses. 

It is essential for employers to understand the gravity of preventing workplace violence and  taking proactive measures to protect their employees. In doing so, employers can cultivate a safe and secure environment that benefits both their employees and their bottom line. 

Understanding Workplace Violence

As stated above, workplace violence can reveal itself in many forms. This can be anywhere from a threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation or other threatening behaviors in the workplace. The most common types of workplace violence include criminal intent, customer/client, co-worker and personal relationship. It is a continuing issue in our society that has a significant impact on both the individual and the business. Victims can experience physical and emotional trauma, while businesses can suffer financial losses, decreased productivity and a tarnished reputation. It is vital to recognize the warning signs as this can be the difference between a normal day or a harmful day. We encourage individuals and businesses to take proactive steps to prevent this from occurring. 

The Warning Signs

It is essential to recognize the warning signs of potential workplace violence, which can include changes in behavior or personality, extreme mood swings, alcohol or drug abuse, signs of depression or anxiety, and an increased interest in weapons. Additionally, employees who are experiencing financial or personal issues may be at higher risk of becoming violent. As a responsible employer, it is crucial to provide your employees with a safe work environment and take any concerns seriously. Encourage employees to report any warning signs or incidents of violence to management immediately. By reporting concerns, employees can help to prevent violent situations from escalating and ensure the safety of all employees.

Prevention Strategies

Businesses can take proactive steps to prevent workplace violence. Creating a culture of safety and security, conducting background checks, and providing employee training on conflict resolution and de-escalation techniques can help to prevent incidents from occurring. Successful prevention strategies include creating an open-door policy for employees to report concerns, conducting safety audits to identify potential risks, and implementing zero-tolerance policies for violent or threatening behavior.

Response to Workplace Violence

It is important to have a plan in place for responding to workplace violence. If an incident occurs, it should be reported immediately, and steps should be taken to ensure the safety of all employees. Providing support and resources for affected individuals is also critical. Successful response strategies include having a designated crisis response team, conducting regular emergency drills, and having a system in place for communication and updates during an incident.

Addressing workplace violence is critical for the well-being and safety of the employees and the business. Through taking proactive measures to prevent incidents and having a plan in place for responding appropriately, businesses can cultivate a safer workspace for all.

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