Violence in the workplace: How to prepare for it
Violence in the workplace is a sobering reality. Despite the prevalence of an “It can’t happen to me,” or “That can’t happen here,” attitude, the truth is that workplace violence can happen anywhere and can be devastating for the employees and staff.
Does your company have protocols for dealing with violence in the workplace and do you know what the plan is for handling disgruntled customers or coworkers? Are you prepared?
Why should companies prepare for violence in the workplace?
Statistics on violence in the workplace in the US
What are the requirements to avoid violence in the workplace?
OSHA requirements for business: A duty to protect
If you fail to address the threat of an active shooter in the workplace, this can be considered a violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) under the General Duty Clause (Section 5(a)1).
This requires employers to provide their employees a place of employment that is free from recognizable hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm. OSHA violations can lead to citations, fines, lawsuits and damage to institutional reputation.
Recent court rulings throughout the country have allowed negligence suits filed by victims of Active Shooters to proceed against employers for failing to provide defensive training to their employees. In other words, companies can no longer avoid their corporate responsibility to provide training on both how to spot potential active shooters and on how to react if confronted.
Violence in the workplace checklist
The following items serve merely as an example of what might be used or modified by employers to help identify potential violence in the workplace problems.
This checklist helps identify present or potential violence in the workplace. Employers also may be aware of other serious hazards not listed here.
Designate competent and responsible observers to readily make periodic inspections to identify and evaluate workplace security hazards and threats of violence in the workplace. Schedule these inspections to be conducted on a regular basis; when new, previously unidentified security hazards are recognized; when occupational deaths, injuries, or threats of injury occur; when a safety, health and security program is established; and whenever workplace security conditions warrant an inspection.
Periodic inspections for security hazards include identifying and evaluating potential workplace security hazards and changes in employee work practices which may lead to compromising security.
Please use the following checklist to identify and evaluate workplace security hazards to avoid violence in the workplace.
TRUE notations indicate a potential risk for serious security hazards:
Keeping violence in the workplace is not that hard if you can proactively work on mitigating it. As a business owner or manager, you should keep your employees well educated so they can be on the look out for signs and warnings.
When done collectively and proactively, violence in the workplace can be avoided or kept to a bare minimum. Safety in the workplace creates a conducive environment for productivity and morale and in turn longevity and loyalty by your most important assets - your employees.