In order for employees to remain productive, they have to feel that their working environment is safe and able to help them thrive on an individual level.

Report: Workplace violence on the rise, companies must remain diligent

It’s crucial for businesses across all industries to create a positive working environment for their employees. Should team members feel as if they are unsafe, it can be detrimental to their own mental well-being and to the organization’s overall productivity.

According to a new report from the Institute of Finance & Management (IOFM), nearly half of surveyed organizations experienced an increase in physical violence against employees by “external parties” over the last 12 months compared with the previous 12 month period. Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said that nearly 17 percent of all workplace fatalities in 2011 were the result of workplace violence.

“It is true that American workplaces have been made safer in recent decades, but the current data trend suggests a rapid – and disturbing reversal,” RD Whitney, CEO of IOFM, said in a company press release.

Whitney added that the report can help organizations adapt to changes in the law. Specifically, by implementing new tools, strategies and knowledge and incorporating lessons learned, companies can strengthen their existing workplace violence prevention efforts.

This issue is also being tackled on local levels. SurfKY Newsgroup, an online news source for Kentucky, spoke with Lt. Robert Carter of the Madisonville, Kentucky Police Department. Carter explained that surveys reveal that 20 percent of employees are fearful on a daily basis. This can result in reduced productivity, costing employers millions of dollars each year.

Carter added that while there is no perfect solution, there are many tools that organizations can implement to keep employees safe and reduce the fear of workplace violence. Companies that are unsure of what some specific measures can be useful should partner with business continuity consultants, as these professionals are well-trained and can help firms create comprehensive action plans.