Workplace violence incidents are one of the most damaging events that can happen to any organization. The good news is that workplace violence is one of the few threats that companies can actually prevent before it happens.
Unlike earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, war, and explosions, workplace violent incidents can be prevented if the organization makes a commitment to educate their employees, and give them the knowledge they need to address a potential problem with a co-worker before it gets to an explosive level, for example, making the active shooter drills part of the security program.
In many ways, workplace violence is worse than other kinds of violent incidents because it always involves a major violation of trust, and it also has a malicious component, where the perpetrator is deliberating focusing on violence against a fellow human that they know personally and may have directly worked with, sometimes for year.
According to OSHA, workplace violence is a serious recognized occupational hazard, ranking among the top four causes of death in workplaces during the past 15 years. More than 3,000 people died from workplace homicide between 2006 and 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Additional BLS data indicate that an average of more than 15,000 nonfatal workplace injury cases are reported every year.
As well as the violation of trust and the violence itself, the incidents usually terrorize both the victims and other employees, especially those who know violent individual and are left to wonder how they failed to recognize the danger signs.
Some organizations report that employees, even those who weren’t hurt in an incident, exhibit PTSD-type symptoms following an incident. And the company’s reputation is often damaged, just from the publicity of the event.
One of the main controls that protect against a violent incident, is doing a Workplace Violence Assessment. This specialized risk assessment involves interviewing employees at all levels of the organization, looking at the OSHA guidelines, such as those detailed in OSHA 3148, (www.osha.gov/Publications//osha3148.pdf).
The assessment also includes making sure that every violent, or threatening incident gets reported in a standardized way, that all the incidents are tracked, and that there is a de-escalation process that can be easily followed to prevent someone from getting to a violent stage.
There are new programs available that automate the Workplace Violence Assessment process and make it into a simple and standardized
project. To review a standardized, data-based, Violence Assessment Report, go to: www.riskandsecurityllc.com/.