How to Prevent Workplace Violence

Workplace violence claims the lives of hundreds of people in the U.S. every year, with 453 killed and 20,790 injured according to Injury Facts® in 2018 alone. Thankfully, there are many steps business owners can take to remove the conditions for workplace violence and to create a safer working environment for employees. If you’ve suffered from workplace violence, check to see if your business owners are or are not doing any of the following. If not, you may be able to file a liability claim against them.

Creating an Anti-Harassment Policy

Employers should take a clear and hard line against violence in the workplace, and one effective way to do this is to create an anti-harassment training policy.  Women are disproportionate victims of workplace violence, and an environment that is conducive to their harassment is dangerous to them. Bullying, intimidation, and threats have no place in the workplace, and a comprehensive anti-harassment policy can reduce the likelihood that anyone feels confident enough to engage in them

Screen New Employees

Prevention is the best way to stop workplace violence from happening in the first place, and one of the most effective ways to do this is to carefully screen new employees before they start working. Employees that have a history of violence may not be suitable for your workplace. If they have a record of violent crimes, you may wish to ask about them to see if the story they tell you matches available records.

Take Security Seriously

What will your business do and who will they call in the event of an emergency that involves a violent actor? The owner must keep the premises safe, and one way businesses can do this is by establishing emergency procedure plans and properly training employees on them. Snap evacuation drills can keep readiness levels up and remind people that an emergency can strike at any time. Keeping the phone numbers for police and emergency services clearly visible can help give everyone the tools to react in an emergency, while on-site security can provide advance warning of danger.

Have a Zero Tolerance Policy for Violence

Violence has no place in the workplace, and the more your company policy reflects this, the safer it will be. Create a zero-tolerance policy for violence so that everyone will know that violence is always off the table in your workplace. Ultimately, everyone can benefit from a safer environment when they know they’ll have recourse against anyone who uses violence against them.

Make it Easy to Report Violence

It’s one thing to have policies against violence, but another to create a culture that discourages it. The easier you make it to report violence against employees to management, the greater effect your policies will have in deterring its use. Create processes that allow workers to report early signs of violence as well, such as threatening speech, online browsing habits, or other behaviors that can indicate an employee needs an intervention. Managers should be responsive to such reports and take action on them once they’re received.

Train Employees to Respect Differences

Some employees may never have been in an environment where they were trained to resist violence and accept the differences in others, whether it be opinion, religion, gender, or the color of their skin. They may also have difficulty expressing themselves and may be prone to outbursts or attitudes that feel threatening to others. Train employees on the importance of:

  • Clear and effective communication
  • Assuming good faith from those they work with
  • Proper de-escalation strategies
  • How to report threats, harassment, and bullying

To create a safe working environment. Once everyone knows what is expected of them and how to effectively function in a safe work environment, they can enjoy better cooperation and inter-employee relations.

Bottom Line

Workplace violence should never happen, but it is all too common in the United States. It often proves fatal and needs to be taken seriously by employers and employees alike. If you’ve been a victim of workplace violence, you may be entitled to compensation, especially if your employer had lax security procedures or ignored repeated warnings of danger. A negligent security lawyer can help you seek out the compensation you’re owed.

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