Preventing Violence in the Workplace with a Plan

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Did you know that in America, over 2 million workers are affected by workplace violence annually? More women are seriously injured and killed while at work by other co-workers and ex partners than those who die from cancer. It seems like every week there is another breaking news story about a disgruntled employee who has gone off the deep end and returned to a worksite only to wreak terror and destruction on former co-workers. (Source: OSHA)

This is shocking considering that many employers have put policies into place to reduce violence in the work place, or have they?

A Bureau of Labor Statistics survey shows that more than 70 percent of workplaces as of 2005 had not issued a violence prevention policy. (Source: CNN)

The time is now to prevent workplace violence and protect your business, your employees, and your customers. Here are some elements of an anti-violence plan you can create right away.

  1. Have an emergency exit plan.  A single act of violence in the workplace can traumatize and damage employees, property, and the community in which the business operates. Make sure all employees understand what to do in the case of violence, such as where to exit the building quickly and how to alert the management team and authorities.
  2. Handle terminations with care. The vast majority of incidences of workplace violence happen when someone is terminated from employment without notice. While come employees will suspect something is happening, others are taken by shock and their response can be highly emotional. Conduct terminations on  Friday at the end of the day, and escort the employee out respectfully.
  3. Assign a critical response team. If something goes wrong, you need to know that there are some key officers in your company who can promptly take charge of things. Have an on-site security team for larger areas like a warehouse or corporate building environments to screen all visitors.
  4. Educate all employees. Let employees know that your company cares about their personal safety, therefore all suspected violence or tension between staff members needs to be brought up to the HR department immediately. Keep this confidential at all times and stress this to employees.
  5. Document and respond to signs. If there is a reported incidence of tension, conflict, or an outside threat from any source, document this with all witnesses and send the offenders home at once. Report outside threats to the authorities.
  6. Have a written zero-tolerance policy. All companies need a clearly written policy that informs employees of the company’s stance on violence in the workplace. Make it a part of your employee handbook and review this periodically.

Need help with creating a workplace violence prevention program or policy for your business? Get in touch with SHIFTHR today for expert HR support and guidance, as well as access to updated employee handbooks!

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