Steps to Prevent Workplace Violence

Violence in the workplace may take many forms. The fact is, according to OSHA, it’s estimated that nearly two million Americans deal with workplace violence each year. Workplace violence may include both physical and verbal hostilities, threats, coercion, intimidation, and all forms of harassment. Your security plan plays an integral role in workplace violence preparedness and prevention. Whether starting a

prevention program or refreshing an existing one, the task can be daunting. Here are four areas where security and management can focus:

Identify and Understand- The layers of workplace violence fit into three main categories: mild behavior, mid-range behavior and violent behavior. Depending on the circumstance, the response to a specific violence category will vary. Understanding the workplace violence continuum aids in reporting and prevention.

Commit to Early Prevention- Many employers focus on zero tolerance approaches to workplace violence. Although it may be well-intentioned, at times, it’s just not enough. Focus on creating a zero-incident approach, where reducing at-risk behavior is first and foremost. Place high priority on implementing procedures that prevent workplace violence while encouraging the participation of all employees.

Addressing Threats- You must develop a proactive response plan for a variety of threats, including domestic violence, active shooter and bullying. A workplace violence prevention program should include training employees and supervisors, raising awareness, and using physical and procedural security measures—all with the support of senior leadership.

Prepare to Respond- De-escalating threats and other potentially violent behavior means training employees in reporting, and in handling confrontational and aggressive behavior. When you’re faced with terminations, layoffs, disciplinary actions, or facility closings, a threat management process is essential. Unknown or unreported threats also require immediate response—your organization must be prepared at all times.

Focusing on workplace violence prevention will not only protect your organization, it will improve your overall working environment. With a partnership approach of security and management working together, you can build a response team and implement preventive measures that reinforces your mission and your culture.

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