Violence in the workplace has been one of the reasons for injury or death on the job. Although it can be unpredictable, it’s still important to identify warning signs and take immediate action to prevent workplace violence.
This article suggests how supervisors and managers should be trained to respond quickly to situations involving threats and intimidation.
Workplace violence is a type of threat or act of intimidation that occurs in the workplace. It can range from verbal abuse to physical assault. It can also include harassment and bullying. Employees, clients, and visitors to the company’s business can fall prey to it. Caused by various factors, workplace violence can affect safety, hinder employee productivity and morale. It can also lead to higher absenteeism, turnover, and increased compensation claims.
According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), workplace violence can be categorized into different threats and acts, such as verbal and physical abuse, bullying, and harassment. It can also include threatening behavior, such as throwing objects at another person.
In addition to threats made through various forms of media, such as letters, emails, and online posts, such as verbal or written threats, workplace violence can also include other forms of harassment, such as mugging, robbery, and sexual harassment.
Let’s understand violence better
1. Assault: A verbal or physical attack on someone can result in either emotional or bodily injury. Either hitting or punching can cause it and can involve using a weapon.
2. Threats: A threat can be made through various forms of media, such as letters, emails, and online posts. They can convey an intent to harm someone or their property physically.
a) Direct threats: Typically made through direct and explicit statements. They can convey an intent to harm the other person or property physically.
b) Indirect threats: Made through ambiguous or vague statements that don’t explain how the intended victim or the plan will be carried out.
c) Implausible threats: These statements are made with an unrealistic or impossible-to-carry-out objective.
The situations mentioned above exist no matter where. When the organization is aware of any such incidents, notices or behaviors, taking a precaution or preventing it from happening will be a great way to avoid it within the company.
1. Analyze the workforce
Before implementing a comprehensive violence prevention program, it’s vital that managers thoroughly analyze the workplace. This will allow managers to identify potential employees with a violent past and helps in identifying areas violence may erupt.
Many companies have never considered the potential risk factors that could lead to workplace violence. But starting with an analysis of the workforce will be a great way to stop it. If something seems out of place, ask for an explanation and follow up with the employee.
2. Create a workplace violence policy
Policy to prevent harassment is also essential to prevent violence. A violent employee can create an offensive work environment and be a warning sign of potential violence.
A comprehensive violence policy should embrace procedures designed to address private complaints and efficiently deal with such situations in the workplace. Managers should implement it after proper consultation with all levels of the organization. Keeping the policy up-to-date by dispensing it to all employees and ensuring everyone knows what it is can help create a violence-free workspace.
3. Encourage effective communication
A well-defined communication network can help prevent workplace violence. A network of people discussing concerns can help workers identify potential threats and report them to the appropriate authorities. HR managers can create conflict-resolution centers or points to help the employees feel more responsible and help discuss their concerns. It can build an environment where employees feel supported and heard.
4. Offer training
Violence training is usually focused on handling situations involving violent individuals; workspace violence can be kept at bay through such training. Training sessions on responding to violent incidents can help the company members feel more confident and prepared to take action when they encounter such circumstances.
5. Accept everyone
In every workplace, there are differences in leadership styles and personalities. If these issues are not resolved, the culture and performance of the organization can be negatively impacted. At times, they could cause depression or even lead to violence. Managers can plan for activities that help the workforce accept each other. Conducting activities to let the employees get to know each other and discuss their differences would help. Doing so will allow them to think about how their differences can positively contribute to the team.
6. Provide proper security
Providing a secure work environment is mandatory to prevent workplace violence. HR experts suggest the significance of a well-designed violence prevention program. Security guards patrolling the area and monitoring visitors can help prevent people from committing violent acts. Aside from these, video surveillance can also help keep people from committing violent acts.
This can be done especially when workers are alone, have limited mobility, or provide services involving alcohol and money. The availability of escorts at night can also help prevent violence against workers in parking lots.
7. Create a supportive space
A strong relationship with your employees is crucial for a successful training program. It will help make them feel valued and supported. This can be done by allowing them to report their concerns without facing retaliation. In addition, having a comprehensive violence prevention program can help prevent violence from happening in the first place.
8. Follow up
Following up on a violent workplace incident is vital to prevent it from happening again. This can be done by analyzing the factors that led to the incident and the warning signs that might prevent it. In addition to the usual procedures and operations, managers need to determine if the team members are trained and if the current policies and practices are working correctly.
9. Identify triggers
Many factors can lead to workspace violence, such as the number of employees and the environment, the perception of violence etc. Managers can detect other factors that trigger violence and take measures to prevent it from happening in the future. Identifying any triggers can be done by constantly checking the system and staying updated.
Avoiding violent situations in a work environment is essential to creating a safe space for the employees and building a culture of trust. It is always vital that managers take the necessary steps to prevent all sorts of workplace violence. We hope this article shared some practical ways to implement policies and procedures that make your workplace safer.