Every week in 1996, 20 people were killed and 18,000 were assaulted on the job, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). By 2014, the annual number had been cut in half, to about 426 people killed per year.
However, in 2021 workforce violence still accounts for 16% of all workplace deaths. Workplace violence prevention training is critical for the safety of all staff and clients.
The 4 Types of Workplace Violence
Workplace abuse is classified into four categories by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health:
1. Criminal Intent. The offender of this type of violent incident has no legitimate connection with the company or its staff. This type of violence is commonly unintentional and occurs as a result of another crime, such as theft, shoplifting, or trespassing. Terrorist attacks are also included in this list.
2. Customer or client. The attacker has a legitimate association with the business and becomes aggressive while being served by the business. Customers, investors, patients, teachers, prisoners and all other groups that a company might offer services to fall under this category.
A significant number of customer/client incidents are known to occur in the health care sector in environments such as nursing homes or psychiatric facilities; the victims are often patient caregivers. Other employees who may be subjected to this type of occupational abuse include police officers, flight attendants and educators, which accounts for about 3% of all workplace homicides.
3. Worker on Worker. The offender of Type III violence is a current or former employee of the company who targets or assaults other current or former employees in the workplace.
4. Personal relationship. The attacker typically has an intimate relationship with the potential victim instead of a business relationship. This group encompasses victims of domestic abuse who have been abused or threatened at work and it accounts for around 5% of all workplace homicides.
Workplace violence is the result of a combination of the following factors:
• The perpetrator of the abuse
• The incident that motivates the individual
• A workplace that is more prone to allowing violence to occur
Workplace violence awareness training will help to reduce all three causes. Here are six steps to avoid violence in the workplace:
Create a policy that discourages violence
Harassment is repeated intimidation, abuse and/or disturbing conduct that intimidates others. It establishes an offensive work atmosphere and the action often acts as a forewarning of impending violence.
As a result, developing a strategy to discourage abuse is a critical step towards avoiding the risk of violence. This policy should provide a collection of guidelines for dealing with employment disputes in a timely and confidential manner. It is important to include all levels of staff, including administrators, managers and executives, in the development of this policy.
Examine your Business
A thorough review of the workplace is needed to decide where the bulk of your workplace violence prevention training should be focused. Ask yourself the following questions to decide where you are in terms of workplace prevention efforts:
• Is there a pattern of workplace harassment in your organization?
• When, what sort and who were the people involved?
• How was it dealt with?
• What initiatives were implemented in the aftermath, and how effective were they?
• What are you doing right if there have been no violent instances in the company’s history?
• How is the physical safety of the environment? Do the doors remain closed? Is it safe for staff to leave late in the evening?
Many companies have never considered how a simple review of existing systems could help in the detection of possible risk factors for workplace violence.
Conduct background checks on new hires
Hiring is the first step in preventing workplace violence. A rigorous background check on prospective employers (after they accept a work offer) will show whether the applicant has a criminal history.
If this pops up, request an explanation to confirm that it is consistent with the report. If they have a recent violent record, you can opt to rescind the job offer in order to prevent this behavior in your workplace.
Create a welcoming environment
All training programs start with the nurturing of a relationship between a company and its employees. It is important for the HR department to ensure that workers are noticed and appreciated at work.
For starters, this could encourage employees who are victims of domestic abuse to be more honest with you. If the domestic partner shows up at work, HR and co-workers would be able to act appropriately. This also ensures that employees who report potential abuse can be protected and not risk retaliation, regardless of who they report it to. Workplace violence policies should extend at all levels as well as to every client.
Implement a zero-tolerance policy for violence
To deter workplace abuse, develop firm strategies that encourage the team to track violent and harassing activity, as well as other signs of aggression. This type of regulation removes undesirable employee conduct and leaves little space for favoritism – administrators must implement immediate and clear discipline to all policy violators.
Make sure that the employees are aware of the repercussions of policy violations. This strong stance demonstrates the company’s dedication to preventing violence.
Employees should be trained to identify warning signs
Employees that are trained to recognize warning signs of possible workplace abuse can prevent an incident from occurring. These signs include some of the following:
• Excessive drinking or substance abuse
• Withdrawal or depression
• Complaints of unjust treatment
• Violating company practices
• Mood fluctuations and extreme reactions to feedback or evaluations
It is crucial to remember that employees who aren’t mentally unwell can also commit workplace violence. Workplace abuse is often blamed on mental illness, although this is not always the case.
As previously stated, workplace violence cannot be fully avoided. In today’s climate, though, a concerned and knowledgeable employer that is aware, implements policies and training to help minimize it is a must.