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Minimizing the Risk of Workplace Violence
As an employer, ensuring the safety and well-being of your employees should be a top priority. An important part of protecting your employees and organization is having a workplace violence policy and plan in place.
What is “Workplace Violence”?
OSHA defines workplace violence as “any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening behavior that occurs at the work site.” This can include anything from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide.
Workplace violence is unfortunately common in the US. In 2020, the BLS reported 392 workplace homicides and 37,060 nonfatal injuries. According to OSHA, most cases of workplace violence go unreported, so the number of non-fatal violence cases in the workplace could affect millions of workers in the US. Workplace violence can occur in any industry, and employers need to be prepared for the possibility of an incident in their workplace. So, how can employers prevent workplace violence?
Establish a zero-tolerance policy.
Employers should develop a zero-tolerance policy for workplace violence. Your workplace violence policy should make it clear that any form of workplace violence will not be tolerated and will result in disciplinary action up to termination. This policy should include all employees, visitors, and anyone else who may come into the workplace.
Keeping the workplace safe is the responsibility of everyone in the organization. When everyone follows policies and procedures, this ensures that the workplace can be a safe and welcoming environment.
Employees – especially managers – should be trained in how to recognize workplace violence and understand the procedure on how to report any concerns to management. Having a clear policy on reporting incidents is a must in any workplace and is a great step toward preventing workplace violence.
If a situation escalates, employees should have the knowledge and training to act quickly and get to a safe space. All employees need to be on the same page and understand the steps to take to avoid injury. Providing regular training to employees on emergency procedures will ensure that all employees are confident in their ability to react to a workplace violence incident.
Maintain a healthy and safe environment.
The best prevention strategy for maintaining a healthy work environment is to minimize negative feelings such as isolation, resentment, and hostility among employees. There are several steps employers can take to help maintain a healthy environment, including:
- Transparent communication lines between managers and employees.
- Implementing a process for complaints and concerns that includes timely feedback for the complainant.
- Maintaining impartial and consistent discipline for employees who exhibit improper conduct.
If you would like assistance crafting a workplace violence policy for your organization, please reach out to The Employer Group.
This information does not constitute legal advice.