The 5 Missing Elements of Most Workplace Violence Prevention Programs

The 5 Missing Elements of Most Workplace Violence Prevention Programs

After working with a variety of organizations on a baseline Workplace Violence assessment, there are several areas that seem to be common problems for most organizations.  These elements are not expensive, and not timing-consuming, so they are natural candidates for improvement.

A baseline workplace violence assessment is a survey of employees in different roles, combined with a threat analysis and an analysis of existing controls and a historical incidents that can be reviewed and aggregated.

Here are the top 5 most common missing elements, with potential solutions.

1.  Missing workplace violence awareness/training programs.  Many organizations report that they have set these up, that they have sent out emails to all employees, but we consistently find that the employees didn’t read the emails, didn’t know the training was available, or that it wasn’t included in their initial company orientation.

2.  Mis-categorization of workplace violence incidents.   There is a mistaken (in my opinion) idea that domestic violence incidents that happen at work should not be categorized or reported as a Workplace Violence incident.  This is a mistake, and leads to bad information about the true nature of the problem.  If someone comes and shoots her significant other at work (IN THE WORKPLACE) – it is a workplace violence incident.

3.  Staff feels subtle pressure from management not to report every incident.
In my research, management wants every incident reported, every time, but
staff members report that their own direct supervisors may discourage them by not taking time to discuss these pre-incidents, and also by chalking up comments as merely office gossip.

4.  Not linking Human Resources with Security on the issue of Workplace Violence Prevention.  This is a management issue, but organizations that create bridges between HR and security are way ahead because this is one issue where cooperation makes a big difference in results.  HR can’t do a security assessment and security can’t write termination policies and set up employment screening. They are both absolutely necessary.

5.   Not doing an Annual Workplace Violence Assessment.  Since late 2008, when the economy suffered major job losses,  the number of workplace violence assessments have increased dramatically, especially in the healthcare field.  Annual assessments are best way to stay on top of the ‘potential’ for violence in your organization.

Check out one of our regularly scheduled webinars to learn more about this important issue.


REMEMBER – Workplace Violence is the one threat that is PREVENTABLE!


                                        — Caroline Hamilton