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How to Prevent Workplace Violence

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, murder comes in as the fourth main cause of fatal injuries in the workplace, making workplace violence a very scary reality of the 21st century. That’s why workplace violence is a chief security concern for employers and employees alike.

Types of workplace violence vary and can include: homicide, threats, bullying, and verbal and physical attacks. This article will explore the reasons why people may become disgruntled and will provide helpful ways to protect your employees and patrons from workplace violence.

Why Workplace Violence Occurs

Potentially dangerous or disgruntled persons come in all ages and from varying socioeconomic backgrounds. They may be employees, customers, or even relatives of employees or customers. For example, Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter, was the son of a former teacher of the school. Perpetrators of workplace violence can range from aggressive individuals who feel slighted to people suffering from mental health issues.

Here are a few reasons why violence happens in the workplace:

  • A thorough background investigation isn’t conducted on employees, which could have revealed a violent
    criminal past or abusive history
  • Employees bring personal issues with them instead of focusing on work while at work
  • The company doesn’t have a hotline to report aggressive behavior or for employees to express
  • There is a lack of security consciousness, planning, or preparation to prevent security issues

By providing helpful support for your employees, you can reduce the risk of violence in the workplace.

What You Can Do About It

Some executives don’t believe that violence could ever happen at their establishment. However, that mentality can eventually lead to a lack of preparedness. Instead, employers should adopt a security consciousness and awareness that trickles down to the employees through policy and training. Here are a few ideas to increase security at your workplace.

Always Conduct Background Checks

Did the time ever exist when an employer could just hire someone on a whim? Doing so in the 21st century can not only lead to a bad hire, but it can also be deadly and lead to expensive legal battles. When hiring employees, make sure your personnel always conduct criminal background checks on potential employees. Contact references and probe them with open-ended questions to elicit honest responses about the safety of the potential employee’s behavior.

Communicate with Employees Fairly

Miscommunication and perceived unfairness are major causes of conflict in many types of relationships, including working ones. To address this, create an employee hotline so that employees who feel wronged or hurt have a proper outlet to channel their rage. If you have a hire that isn’t working out, communicate through performance appraisals and document your discussions. Also, stay positive yet firm whenever possible in your dealings with the employee. It is best to have more than one professional in the room when dealing with potentially disgruntled employees.

Be Mindful When Laying off Workers

Many employees plan to devote their working years to a single company in exchange for a retirement pension plan and associated perks. Therefore, when employers lay off people who have put in a significant time at their company, they will almost always be met with backlash. That’s why it’s vital to be mindful when laying off workers.

Instead of laying off long-term employees without any prior notification, consider giving them time to find other jobs. When possible communicate with them early about the reasons and explain clearly when their last day will be and the amount of any severance package. Remember to consider the timing of the separation. It would be unwise to lay off workers two days before Christmas if you’re trying to prevent added animosity and tension.

Consult a Security Team

There are myriad reasons why people may become disgruntled and potentially violent. The reasons are as potentially diverse as the number of people in the population. Every day, nearly 150 million people go to work in the U.S. More than 2 million of those workers report being victims of workplace aggression or abuse.

If you’ve laid off workers who may become disgruntled or if you have a violent employee, consider hiring a security service to help you with increasing the security at your office. People who feel slighted or wronged will often result to workplace violence. To ensure your safety and the safety of your customers and employees, it is wise to consult experienced professionals like Trident Security.

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