Ways to Create A Workplace Violence Prevention Strategy
Invest in prevention because it’s a risk your company can’t afford. Here are five ways your company can create a workplace violence prevention strategy.
Two million Americans report violence in the workplace each year. Many more cases go unreported.
There are certain factors that increase the risk of workplace violence. Those who work around and with alcohol, those who work late at night, and those whose work exposes them to the public are all more likely to witness or experience a violent outburst.
Even if you don’t work in a place where the risk is high, it’s necessary to take precautions. Keep reading to learn more about workplace violence and then take a look at five ways to create a workplace violence prevention strategy.
Types of Violence in the Workplace
There are four types of violence that can happen within a workplace environment.
1. A present or former employee commits acts of violence against co-workers, supervisors, or their managers.
2. Someone with a personal relationship with an employee commits an act of violence.
3. There is a random act of workplace violence committed by someone with no connection but entered the premises with the intent to commit a robbery or other crime.
4. Customers, patients, students, clients, inmates, or other individuals for whom the business or organization provides services to commits a violent act.
What this means is that anyone, for any reason can enter your workplace and commit a violent act at any time. No one is truly safe unless proper protocols are set into place. Here’s how to do that.
1. Create a Violence Prevention Team
If you work in a commercial building, chances are there is already a system set in place for how to handle a fire breaking out. Appoint someone from your office to ensure everyone gets out safely.
Adopt the same practice in the event of workplace violence. Create a violence prevention team.
Have them develop a system for what to do if violence breaks out. Place everything in writing so that every employee has access to the information.
Those you chose or who volunteer to be a part of the prevention team need to be properly trained. They can then share that training with the rest of your employees.
2. Perform Practice Drills
Most companies perform fire drills. We all know what to do if a fire breaks out and where to go to meet up outside of the building.
That way, if a fire does break out, rather than panicking, people can do exactly as they’ve practiced. It eliminates the possibility of people making poor decisions while under extreme stress.
Perform practice drills for workplace violence. Have everyone practice the drill at least every quarter, if not more frequently.
To help employees remember what to do during a crisis, use three words like run, hide, and fight. Workers should first try to grab their co-workers and flee the building as quickly as possible.
Once in a safe location, they should call the police. If fleeing isn’t an option because of blocked exits, employees should seek shelter in an enclosed room or barricade the door to prevent the violent offender from reaching them.
If running or hiding isn’t an option, employees should fight. Teach them ahead of time what items to use as a weapon if need be. Items like phones and laptops work well for self-defense.
If all else fails, those who are able should try to overtake the person. A plan for how to handle an active shooter effectively should be in place and practiced.
3. Foster a Climate of Trust and Honesty
When people work in positive, happy environments, they tend to behave well.
That’s because, as scholar Andrew Sayer believes, “dignity is a fundamentally social phenomenon that arises through interaction, and therefore it depends on a mix of both independence and interdependence. It involves recognition and trust, as well as autonomy and self-mastery.
Fostering trust and honesty helps reduce workplace violence. It provides an environment where those who are being abused outside of the office space feel comfortable informing their employer about a restraining order they had to take out on a loved one.
It also fosters an environment where people feel safer and more empowered. They feel as though the company cares about them.
4. Identify and Screen Out Potentially Violent People
Obviously, you’ll have to comply with privacy protections and anti-discrimination laws but it is possible to identify and screen out potentially violent individuals before they join your company.
However, it’s not foolproof. Sometimes, you’ll hire someone who then experiences a traumatic event and you’ll find their behavior changes.
The important part is to read the signs of workplace violence so you can take action before it happens. Here are a few things to look out for:
- Someone who handles criticism poorly
- Makes inappropriate statements
- Complains about how unfairly they’re treated
- Doesn’t acknowledge job performance issues
- Is excessively late or absent
- Blames others for their mistakes
- Holds grudges against others
- Has a sudden and/or unpredictable change in energy or behavior
- Develop a protocol of procedures to help a business accurately identify someone who is potentially dangerous. Often, it’s possible to prevent violence when someone intervenes before the individual becomes violent.
5. Get a Workplace Violence Audit
It’s a really smart idea to have a professional workplace violence audit performed on your business. You and your employees work closely with one another.
It can be hard to see what is working and what isn’t working well within the organization. It’s also hard to set up a prevention program when you’re not an expert in violent behavior.
Violent people are unpredictable and so are the weapons they usually choose to bring with them.
An audit provides a clear assessment of your current security gaps and risk exposure.
Don’t wait until violence happens to your business. Protect yourself, your employees, and your company by contacting the right professionals.
Our goal is to educate, prepare, and empower your company through risk assessments, emergency and crisis planning and training programs. We also provide cyber risk management.
To learn more about us and the solutions we provide, contact us today.