Preventing Workplace Violence

Workplace or occupational violence has become an increasingly serious problem throughout all segments of our society. It's the fastest growing form of murder in the USA. People used to resolve their differences by talking it out. Now they often resort to violence as an initial problem-solving technique.

Types of Workplace Violence
Third Party Intrusion into the Workplace
The greatest potential for workplace violence occurs when a person who is not an employee of the business or company enters the workplace. This can be an estranged or recently divorced spouse, an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend, or an emotionally disturbed person.

Disgruntled Employees
Disgruntled employees usually direct their acts of violence toward coworkers, supervisors, or managers. The motive is usually revenge for something that happened to them in the workplace that they are not happy about.

Miscellaneous Types of Workplace Violence
Other less frequent types of workplace violence include terrorist hate crime and violence that takes place during the commission of a robbery or other commercial crime.

Ways to Prevent Workplace Violence
Third Party Intrusion into the Workplace
  • Although it can be a very sensitive subject and a personal issue, employees should be encouraged to notify their supervisors whenever they experience domestic conflict, abuse, or misdirected affection.
  • Obtain an Ex Parte Order of Protection (Call the Circuit Clerk at 868-4074 for more information about a Protection Order). Notify supervisors and security that you have obtained an Ex Parte Order of Protection.
  • A monitored duress alarm may be installed in the work area of the individual who is threatened.
  • Security escorts should be provided for the threatened employee to and from his/her vehicle.
Disgruntled Employees
  • A clearly written company-wide policy should be developed that prohibits intimidation and harassment in the workplace.
  • A policy addressing zero tolerance for weapons, except for security, should also be developed.
  • Encourage employees to report incidents of violence, harassment, intimidation, and threatened violence to superiors and/or the company security department.
  • Employees should be trained to recognize and report warning signs or "red flags" in the behavior or circumstances of coworkers that may lead to workplace violence.
  • Employment procedures should include a thorough background check, including criminal history and previous employment, of prospective employees.
  • Insure that all employees are aware of available counseling and employee assistance programs.
  • Provide a work environment that includes benevolent rather than authoritarian management, predictable supervision, value for the dignity of the employee, and reasonable work demands or requirements.
  • In cooperation with local law enforcement and/or the security department, evaluate access control (consider a CPTED Security Survey), security, and emergency response procedures.
  • Minimize workplace stress by minimizing labor / management disputes, under staffing, unsafe conditions, excessive demands for output, or other factors that contribute to workplace stress.
  • When threats or implied threats are reported or made known, the company or business should have a team of professionals that pull together to analyze risk factors and plan a course of action.
Miscellaneous Types of Workplace Violence
This type of violence is growing at a very fast rate, in part due to a lack of planning and policies at many companies. Consider the above tips to minimize your risk of workplace violence.