Violence in the workplace is a serious issue that affects many employees and organizations each year. Acts of violence and other injuries are among the leading causes of fatal occupational injuries in the United States, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, 2021 (CFOI) reporting that of the 5,190 fatal workplace injuries that occurred in the United States in 2021, 718 were cases of intentional injury by another person.
This represents a 10.3% increase from the previous year, highlighting the need for continued efforts to prevent violence in the workplace. It is crucial for employers to take steps to reduce violence in the workplace. This article will explore some effective strategies to help achieve this goal.
What is Workplace Violence?
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), workplace violence is any act or threat of violence, ranging from verbal abuse to physical assault that occurs at the workplace. This type of violence can lead to physical injury, psychological harm, reduced productivity, and in some cases, death.
Being accused of assault in the workplace can be a stressful and overwhelming ordeal. To help you fight the charges, it is advisable to speak to a specialist law firm such as New Jersey Assault Attorney who can offer you a free and confidential case review.
Steps to Reduce Workplace Violence
By taking appropriate precautions, the chances of assault can be minimized. These include the following steps:
Implement a Workplace Violence Prevention Program
One of the most effective ways to reduce workplace violence is for employers to implement a comprehensive workplace violence prevention program. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a well-written and implemented workplace violence prevention program, along with other measures, can reduce the incidence of workplace violence in both the private sector and federal workplaces.
This program should include a clear policy statement, procedures for identifying and reporting potential incidents, and protocols for responding to incidents if they occur. It should also involve training for all employees on how to recognize and respond to potential violence.
Employee Awareness and Training
Training employees to recognize the signs of potential violence can be an effective measure in preventing violent incidents in the workplace. Such training should help employees to identify potential warning signs such as threatening behavior, verbal abuse, and physical aggression and should also train them on how to respond to violent situations, including how to safely evacuate the area and report the incident to management.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), behavioral strategies such as training employees in nonviolent response and conflict resolution may help to reduce the risk of volatile situations escalating to physical violence.
Access to Resources
Workplace stress and emotional upset are often cited as contributing factors to incidents of workplace violence. Employers can help prevent such incidents by providing employees with access to resources that can help them manage stress and cope with emotional issues.
These resources can include counseling services, employee assistance programs, and support groups which can help employees address their stress and emotional issues before they escalate into potentially violent behavior as well as equip them with effective coping mechanisms to manage their stress levels, reducing the likelihood of potential violent incidents or outbursts at work.
Conduct Thorough Background Checks
Conducting thorough background checks on potential employees is a crucial step in ensuring a safe and secure work environment as it helps to identify any potential red flags in the applicant’s background, minimizing the risk of workplace violence.
Employers should consider a range of checks such as criminal background checks, which can help identify any prior convictions or criminal history that may raise concerns about the applicant’s suitability for the role, as well as reference checks, and employment verification. These can provide valuable insights into the applicant’s work history and performance, as well as their interpersonal skills and behavior in the workplace, highlighting any areas for concern.
Employers should also consider reviewing the applicant’s social media profiles and other online activity as part of their background check process as this can help to identify any inappropriate content or problematic behavior that may raise questions about their suitability for the role.
Implement Security Measures
Implementing effective security measures in the workplace can help to deter potential violent incidents by creating a secure and safe work environment as well as assist in identifying and responding to violent incidents if they occur.
One effective security measure is installing security cameras in strategic locations throughout the workplace. In the event of a violent incident, security cameras can provide important details about the incident such as identifying the perpetrator. Access control systems are another security measure that can help to prevent violent incidents in the workplace. By restricting access to certain areas, employers can prevent unauthorized individuals from entering the workplace and potentially causing harm. This can include using key card systems, biometric scanners, or other access control measures.
Security personnel can also be hired to patrol the workplace, providing a visible presence to help deter potential violent behavior as well as responding quickly and effectively if such an incident does occur.
Create a Positive Workplace Culture
Creating a positive workplace culture that promotes open communication, respect, and teamwork among employees can help to prevent conflicts and reduce the risk of violent incidents.
Employers should provide opportunities for employees to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas without fear of retaliation or discrimination. This can include setting up regular employee feedback sessions, creating suggestion boxes, or using anonymous surveys to gather feedback from employees. Such initiatives can help employers identify potential areas of conflict and take proactive steps to prevent workplace violence.
Employers should also strive to create a culture of inclusion and diversity that is welcoming and supportive of all employees. This can include providing training on appropriate workplace behavior, cultural sensitivity and unconscious bias, which can help to actively promote a diverse, inclusive, and respectful workplace.
As highlighted, there are several steps employers can take to minimize and prevent violence in the workplace, ranging from the implementation of workplace violence programs to diversity and inclusion initiatives, ensuring a safe and healthy workplace for all employees.