We live in a world where it sometimes feels like the threat of violence is ever present. Violence in the workplace is an unfortunate and scary extension of this alarming trend.
What is workplace violence exactly?
Workplace violence does not always consist of the extreme cases that we are exposed to through the media, the Internet, and in some unfortunate cases, from first hand experience.
Examples of workplace violence can include:
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- Grabbing a co-worker
- Throwing objects
- Foul language
- The threat of violence
Then there is the much more crystal clear examples of violence such as the use of extreme physical force with the intent to cause severe or fatal physical harm.
If your business hasn’t thought about a plan of action to protect your workers and customers from workplace violence incidents, you’re behind the eight ball. There are many professional resources available to help you get started, but one of the first things that you can do on your own is to put together a plan of action.
Begin by reviewing the workplace safety process that you currently have in place, or begin to think about developing a workplace safety process if your business doesn’t have a safety plan. Ask yourself the following questions to help you to begin thinking about how to prepare a safety plan:
- How secure are your offices and buildings? Who has access? Should access be restricted in some or all areas?
- Do you have a sign in policy for people entering the building?
- Are your buildings well lit?
- If your building has employee parking, is the area well lit? Is there an escort system in place for employees who work after hours?
- Is there security available? If not, can you install some type of security system, or hire a security guard?
- Are there panic buttons in key areas?
- Do you have clearly outlined emergency procedures? Do employees know what to do in the event of an emergency?
- Are employees taught to be alert to their surroundings including strangers who should not be in their area or who may look suspicious.
- Do you thoroughly check the background of the employees that you hire including thorough reference checks and criminal background checks if appropriate?
- Are your managers trained in how to appropriately deal with difficult employee issues before those issues escalate into bigger issues?
- How do you handle the firing of an employee? Is there fairness and consistency in the process? Do you pay everything owed to the employee on the day of termination? Do you allow fired employees access back into the building once terminated?
This list was not meant to be all inclusive, but it will certainly get you started with the process of workplace security and safety. Some additional articles and resources on the topic that you’ll find helpful:
50 Tips on Workplace Violence
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