Preventing Workplace Violence

Did you know that roughly 2 million Americans are victims of workplace violence every year? According to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), workplace violence is defined as “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site.” While workplace violence continues to be an ongoing issue, the good news is that there are ways we can help prevent it.
Prevention
It’s up to each of us to do our part to help prevent violence in our workplace. By being proactive, we can learn to identify warning signs before violent incidents occur. Keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be a coworker committing the crime. It’s just as possible for a violent act to be committed by a spouse or domestic partner of an employee, a current or former client of the company, or even someone with no connection to the company whatsoever.
It’s a good idea to have an office program that encourages open conversation about workplace safety. Programs like these can help teach behavioral signs to be on the lookout for in potentially violent individuals, such as:
  • Emotional outbursts
  • Ongoing negativity and complaining
  • Change in behavior
  • Decreased quality of job performance
  • Stating a wish for something bad to happen to someone in the workplace
Beyond this, it can also benefit workers to occasionally hold an active shooter drill just as you might participate in a fire or tornado drill. This type of drill helps workers know to find the nearest exit or practice seeking shelter and learning to barricade a door shut.

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Reporting an Incident
Regardless of who the culprit may be, all incidents of workplace violence should be taken seriously. In any situation where you need immediate help, call 9-1-1 as soon as possible so that the proper authorities can be notified and you can receive any necessary medical treatment. For any less urgent incidents, you should talk to your supervisor and/or Human Resources department.
Source: Workplace Answers

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