Workplace violence can occur in any industry across a variety of workplace environments. Its a prevalent problem due to its broad definition and the wide range of acts it encompasses. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration considers verbal abuse, threats, intimidation, physical acts and others all as examples of workplace violence.
Here are several steps employers can take to help prevent workplace violence:
- Security. Increasing security in the workplace can have a wide range of positive effects, not the least of which is the prevention of violence. Security guards and receptionists can help screen people entering the office to keep out unauthorized people and cameras can help increase reaction times to intervene with possible threats.
- Assessment. In order to help prevent any incidents, get an idea of what challenges your physical location presents to the prevention of violence. This includes physically separating employees from customers and the public, increasing visibility in high-risk areas and restricting access to the office by alarming entrances and exits.
- Training. Establish a violence prevention training program for all employees. This will help them better identify warnings signs and what to do should something happen. Also, make sure they know how to report suspicions and that their concerns will not be taken lightly.
- Counseling. Stress relief can go a long way towards preventing violence. Caring for your employees' mental health will give them an outlet for their troubles so that they don't resort to violence. Also, consider offering this as a post-employment benefit to mitigate any potential reactions after they exit the company.
- Planning. Create a workplace violence prevention plan to establish detailed guidelines for various possibilities, including disciplinary actions, documentation, emergency procedures and response measures.
For comprehensive assistance in building a workplace violence prevention plan, consultants can develop a strategy that suits your operations.