How to Prevent Workplace Violence?
Nowadays, it is almost impossible to open the news and not find extensive reports on widespread violent behavior. In fact, much of the violence is happening at people's jobs. This article examines how to prevent workplace violence by offering a holistic approach to protecting an organization, its employees, and high-ranking individuals.
But before we learn how to prevent workplace violence, we must establish its essence. A previous article explored precisely that. In a nutshell, the US Department of Labor posits that "Workplace violence is any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site."
In principle, no worker or employer is immune from becoming a victim. Moreover, experts believe that many CEOs can quickly become soft targets. Therefore, it seems strange that countless companies fail to introduce workplace violence prevention programs.
Simply put, it should consist of the following pillars:
- Open-door policy, and
Of course, to learn how to prevent workplace violence, they need to receive relevant training for the procedure.
Likewise, suppose a person is experiencing harassment from her former spouse outside of work. The victim, in this case, should report this incident to the employer as the perpetrator could easily visit the victim's workplace and commit criminal acts there.
Similarly, the employer should create conditions for workers to report any issues freely. Doing so allows the employees to enjoy a violence-free environment, boosting their productivity and increasing the company's revenues.
Therefore, it is the responsibility of the employer to contract security staff that can amplify the process and even interdict if necessary. For example, hostile terminations are only one example of when things can go sideways fast. So, let us also explore others.
Workplace violence can happen anywhere — not only in the place where employees and employers operate from 9 to 5. In reality, it needs only be related to the person's job. For instance, someone could target the employer at their private residence, but the attack could be associated with the individual's position at their company.
Similarly, workers operating in places where they are in direct contact with the public are more vulnerable to attacks. For instance, consider employees working at the counter, access control points like metal detectors, and even people in business retail. All these contact points with the public comprise hot spots for workplace violence.
Yes, the first thing that comes to mind in this regard is active shooters targeting enterprise leaders. However, it doesn't need to go that far. In contrast, it can relate to:
- Verbal abuse,
- Physical abuse, and
- Indirect, direct, and conditional threats.
It is correct to say that the most prominent issues arise when a person decides to take up a weapon against a company, its employees, or employers. However, we must acknowledge that the most common type of violent behavior at the job is not an active shooter event.
Indicators and Signs
With around ten personality types, it isn't easy to read every person's emotions, thoughts, and intentions. Thus, this task could become unattainable due to hundreds of corporate employees.
Likewise, it is taxing to establish if somebody is preparing to engage in illegal activity. However, we present you here with a few signs and indicators to look for:
- Mood shifts and suspicious of other people,
- Significant changes in life, like marital, financial problems, loss of family members,
- Unable to keep up conversations,
- Changes in personal hygiene or appearance, and
- Seem to be heavily using alcohol or drugs.
To learn how to prevent workplace violence, you will want to check in occasionally on your workforce to see if they have experienced life-changing events and need support in any way. Apart from everything we listed so far, they could fear losing their job. Similarly, the employee may have a parenting crisis at home. The list goes on and on.
In any case, what to do when somebody exhibits these signs? For one, it is wise to have trained personnel in the office to conduct a crisis prevention intervention. Such a program can include advice on
- De-escalating a volatile situation, and
- Recognizing the warning signs.
If your company staff and security team members have received the appropriate training, they will have little trouble finding the cues and responding promptly.
How to Prevent Workplace Violence with an Assessment?
First and foremost, any company must conduct a detailed vulnerability assessment. It helps to uncover the gaps in the security and safety layers of the organization and establish strategies for preventing them. We urge you to look at all business aspects contributing to workplace violence.
Simply put, the unit that conducts the vulnerability assessment should comprise:
- Internal leadership team,
- Security personnel, and
- Outside consultants.
When looking at how to prevent workplace violence in this regard, the unit made up of these three groups can come up with an inventory of issues, such as:
- Gaps in the building's access control,
- Poor lighting in the parking lot,
- Broken door locks, and
- Damaged security gates.
Other things could comprise an office setup that is not conducive to controlling the environment in a threatening situation. For example, suppose an attacker goes from the front door directly to the CEO's office because the latter was placed near the building entrance. As a result, they will get unobstructed access to the company's high-ranking individuals.
The next step should entail making a business case on how to spend resources to address the top priorities.
After analyzing these items in-depth, an experienced security team will establish a course of action like introducing intrusion detectors, badge readers, and CCTV cameras.
Bedrock Special Projects provides peace of mind by implementing workplace violence prevention programs to benefit prominent individuals, their families, and corporations. The Art of Executive Protection – Delivered with Elegance by Design.
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