Workplace violence is frightening and all too common in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2 million American workers are victims of workplace violence each year. It can take many forms, from verbal abuse and threats to physical assaults and even homicide.
It’s becoming increasingly important for employers to put measures in place to try to prevent violence in the workplace from happening. This blog post will discuss workplace violence, common warning signs, and steps you can take as a business to prevent it.
What is Considered Workplace Violence?
Most people think of workplace violence, and they think of an active shooter situation. However, workplace violence can take many forms. It can include any threat or act of physical harm, harassment, intimidation, or other disruptive behavior at the work site. This can happen between co-workers, customers, clients, or anyone else who comes into contact with the business.
Workplace violence can happen anywhere, but some industries are more prone to it than others. These include healthcare, social work, customer service, and law enforcement. It is important for businesses in these industries to be especially aware of the potential threats and know the common warning signs.
Know the Warning Signs
Most people don’t just “snap.” There are usually warning signs that lead to an explosive incident. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), common warning signs can include:
- Increased use of drugs or alcohol
- Threatening or talking about wanting to hurt someone
- Unexplained absences or lateness
- Increased irritability or aggressiveness
- Sudden changes in behavior or personality
If you notice these red flags, it’s important to take them seriously and investigate further. Discuss concerns with your HR department and involve law enforcement if there is an immediate threat of violence.
Preventative Steps Businesses Can Take
The first step any business can take to prevent workplace violence is to have a zero-tolerance policy against it. This means that violence, threats, or harassment will not be tolerated and will be immediately dealt with by management. This policy should be clearly stated in your employee handbook and posted in visible areas around the workplace.
Businesses can also conduct regular training on what constitutes it and how to report it. Training should be mandatory for employees and include role-playing exercises so that employees know how to handle real-life situations.
Investing in a Threat Assessment Team
Having a threat assessment team in place is one of the best things you can do to prevent violence in your workplace. This team can help identify potential threats and take steps to mitigate them. Here are some tips for building an effective workplace violence threat assessment team:
- Hire a professional team with experience in de-escalation, threat assessment, and control tactics
- Make sure the team has a clear mandate and understands its role
- Ensure the threat assessment team can access necessary resources, including mental health professionals and emergency personnel
- Provide training for employees on assessing and responding to threats of violence
A workplace violence threat assessment team can be a valuable asset in preventing violence in your workplace. By taking steps to build an effective team, you can help keep your workplace safe.
If you suspect someone may be a threat to themselves or others, don’t hesitate to contact your local law enforcement or mental health professional. In many cases, early intervention can prevent violence from occurring.
Controlled F.O.R.C.E. Workplace Violence Prevention and Threat Assessment
The professional team at Controlled F.O.R.C.E. helps clients understand what a threat analysis and physical security assessment mean and identify the problem that needs to be solved.
Our services can help plan for and protect your facilities and critical infrastructure against terrorist attacks, insider threats, natural disasters, and other threats; help your security personnel identify and react to threatening individuals such as active shooters, terrorists, or other threats; identity, assess, and intervene with a person who may commit targeted or instrumental violence; or assess the likelihood of a specific individual for violent behavior against your employees or clients.