According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), workplace violence refers to “the act or threat of violence, ranging from verbal abuse to physical assaults, directed toward people at work or on duty.” Workplace violence also involves acts resulting in damage to the resources and capabilities of an organization.
How can employers protect their employees and keep the workplace safe?
Here are some suggestions on how to deal with workplace violence:
Analyze the workplace:
A detailed study of the workplace will help you to understand the areas that are to be the main focus of your workplace violence prevention training. A workplace is the sum total of the employees. So, find out about the things that make your employees vulnerable or fill them with doubts about their security at the workplace.
Conduct threat assessment:
Conduct a threat assessment team to conduct regular threat assessments. Their work will be to evaluate the possibility of threat. The main aim of such a team is to receive and review incident reports and suggest proper measures. Such assessments are crucial in understanding the company’s weaknesses and addressing them.
Identify the kinds of violence:
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has drafted a model typology for violence in the workplace depending on the attacker’s relationship with the place of employment or the victim. The different types of workplace violence as mentioned by this body are based on criminal intent, customer / client-based violence, co-worker, and personal relationships. All kinds of perpetrators are to be evaluated to find out the probability of violent events.
Recognize warning signs:
Always watch out for any behaviour of any employee within the workplace that might make the other employees feel intimidated or leave them to feel uncomfortable. Such behaviours involve being aggressive, disruptive, hostile, hypersensitive as well as blaming others, holding grudges, showing prolonged anger, or being depressed for a long time.
Secure your workplace:
Ensure that the office building and the parking lots are secured. You can also add exterior lights to make sure that all areas are well lit. Apart from bells and alarms, also install security cameras at various places within the office premises. Make sure that the cameras are visible.
Have a workplace violence policy:
Formulate a concrete workplace policy. Draft in detail the disciplinary actions that would be taken by the company in case of verbal and non-verbal threats. Conduct workplace violence prevention training in tune with this policy.
Provide communication and empathy training:
Organize regular sessions to teach your employees how to handle violent situations and events effectively. Explain to your workforce the importance of open and clear communication and how it can prevent the occurrence of violent episodes in the workplace.
Promote a supportive environment:
Encourage a non-violent workplace by ensuring a friendly atmosphere. Allocate resources appropriately to train your employees so that undesirable circumstances can be avoided. Ask your employees to be patient with one another while discussing important work-related issues to avoid all probable conflicts.