Preventing Workplace Violence the SMART Way
Workplace violence is defined as any type of act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation or other threatening disruptive behavior that happens in a workplace. This type of violence can come from employees, customers, clients or visitors and can range from physical to verbal violence.
It is estimated that 25% of workplace violence cases go unreported, which is why it is increasingly important for employers to build strong relationships with employees so they are comfortable enough to communicate if something happens. There are many factors that go into workplace violence and often the risk is increased when the business involves exchanging money or working with unstable people. There is also an increased risk for people working in places where alcohol is served.
Often, violence in the workplace that comes from within an organization stems from revenge or anger. Some signs that may signal future violence are:
Extreme use of alcohol or drugs
Excessive absences or a decline in job performance
Depression, withdrawal or change in behavior
Disregard for company policies or refusal to comply with changes at work
Overly emotional responses to criticism or tough customers
Workplace violence cases where there is an intruder, like a robber or an active shooter, can be very tricky situations and employees must act fast to avoid danger. Unfortunately, these types of incidents are becoming more common and disgruntled employees or customer must be watched closely. According to the BLS, there were 500 homicides within the workplace in 2016. It is also important to note that 57% of all recorded mass shootings over time have occurred within the last 10 years.
To prevent workplace violence, companies should have a thorough workplace safety program with specific guidelines on prevention methods and how to react if an employee is involved, witnesses or suspects a case of workplace violence. Safety preparedness plans and training are extremely important in protecting employees and customers, and could be the difference between life or death.
According to OSHA, about 2 million people each year report some type of workplace violence. OSHA provides helpful content to help employers asses the risks in their workplace and properly build a workplace violence prevention manual, or add it to their existing health and safety manual.
Don't want to stress about building your own top notch prevention program? Contact SMART Safety to learn more about how our team of skilled safety and health experts can train your employees. For more training topics offered by SMART Safety click here.