What is the first thing you think of when someone mentions “workplace violence”?
For many, the thought of violence at work brings up images of high profile and often deadly violent acts, such as an active shooter incident. However, these are just the most extreme cases. The OSHA definition for workplace violence actually crosses a wide spectrum that includes any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at a work site. It ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide.
Employers should be concerned that most workplace violence incidents do fall short of physical violence, and many go unreported. Verbal harassment or bullying behavior may even be a potential early warning sign for physical workplace violence, especially if the behavior seems to be escalating over time.
Under the OSHA general duty clause, employers are required to keep their workplace “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees.”
Although OSHA has no specific regulations governing workplace violence prevention, it does offer guidelines that include:
Endorsement and visible involvement of top leadership provides the motivation and resources to deal effectively with workplace violence.
Workers with different functions and at various organizational levels bring a broad range of experience and skills to program design, implementation, and assessment.
In most workplaces where risk factors can be identified, the risk of assault can be prevented or minimized if employers take appropriate precautions.
Ensure all workers (including contractors, supervisors, and managers) are aware of potential hazards and how to protect themselves and their coworkers through established policies and procedures.
It’s crucial that all workers learn to recognize and report all intimidating or violent behavior, including potential warning signs, so the workplace can assess the situation and offer appropriate intervention. When caught early enough, supervisors may be able to head off an escalating problem through reassignment, an employee assistance program, and/or professional counseling.
eLearning Brothers offers comprehensive off-the-shelf training courses that can help you educate your employees on potential hazards, including a “Workplace Violence: Warning Signs and Prevention” course.
Keep your organization safe with easy-to-deliver training combined with the other methods outlined above.