How to Identify and Prevent Workplace Violence
Develop a Workplace Violence PolicyEvery employer should have a policy, preferably in the Employee Handbook, which identifies potential types of violence, sets forth the process to follow if an employee is the victim of workplace violence, and states that the company has a zero tolerance policy against violence. State that discipline will be taken against employees who threaten or take violent action at work. Establish security procedures for the building, such as using security cameras, extra lighting, keys, employee badges, and evacuation routes. Maintain an up to date list of employee's emergency contact person and information.
Train Employees to Spot ViolenceTrain all employees regarding what constitutes workplace violence. Provide examples of direct or veiled threats such as:
1. Throwing objects
2. Making a verbal threat to harm another individual or destroy property
3. Making menacing gestures
4. Expressing significant grudges against co-workers
5. Displaying an intense or obsessive romantic interest that exceeds the normal bounds of interpersonal interest
6. Attempting to intimidate or harass other individuals
7. Behavior indicating that the individual is significantly out of touch with reality and that he or she may pose a danger either to himself or herself or to others
Require employees to report these incidents immediately.
Train Managers to Prevent ViolenceManagers should learn how to identify those who may be on the verge of aggression. Train managers on how to respond quickly to threats. Managers should be tasked with keeping records of any violence or threats that arise.
Enforce the PolicyIf there is violence at the workplace, contact local law enforcement and follow their instructions. Get people away from the scene and to a safe place quickly. Provide prompt medical evaluation and treatment after an incident. Immediately investigate if any complaint is made or violent behavior is observed. Employers should follow through with discipline if such threats arise.