« Workplace Violence Prevention

New study examines prevalence of workplace violence in federal organizations

A recent study assessed the workplace violence risk for federal government organizations
A recent study assessed the workplace violence risk for federal government organizations

In 1998, the Office of Personnel Management released a report focusing on violence within the federal workplace. After the organization undertook some research, basic guidelines were established to better protect employee safety by recognizing dangerous behavior including stalking, threats and intimidation.

Interestingly, after nearly 15 years without an organization developing another study focusing on federal sector workplace violence, the Merit Systems Protection Board – an independent agency established within the United States executive brand that guards the Federal merit system – recently released findings of a new research effort.

Catalyzed by statistics that found incidents of workplace violence to be higher in state and local governments as opposed to private-sector organizations, the researchers determined that all federal government organizations are equally at risk for a violent incident.

While some may assume that only those government organizations that are in high-crime regions, guard valuable goods/information or interact with a higher volume of unstable individuals are at risk, the study found that workplace violence is not contained to only establishments with these criteria.

"These groups are certainly at risk, but all federal organizations can be affected by workplace violence since one of the most common perpetrators of violence in the federal workplace are federal employees," wrote the researchers in a newsletter. "The seeds that may spark a violent outburst by an employee may be rooted in a conflict with other employees or supervisors, conflict with customers or conflict outside the workplace such as daily economic or personal pressures."

In order to address these findings, it would be wise for federal government agencies to partner with a workplace violence preparation consulting firm. These professionals can help update business continuity plans to ensure that initiatives related to employee training and violence recognition are undertaken on a regular basis.