What is workplace violence?
Workplace violence is best defined as follows: violent acts, including physical assaults and threats of assault, directed toward persons at work or on duty.
Many people believe that workplace violence arises out of a dispute or adverse interpersonal relations between employees and employers. But, in order to better understand workplace violence, and then to implement a prevention plan, it is necessary to categorize it more specifically. According to OSHA, there are three categories of workplace violence.
Stranger-versus-employee violence, such as armed robbery, accounts for 60% of all workplace homicides.
Client violence occurs when a client whom the organization serves attacks an employee. A staff or faculty member being attacked by a student best exemplifies client violence. It is estimated that 30% of all workplace homicides are a result of client violence.
Employee violence occurs when an employee attacks another employee. This accounts for 10% of all workplace homicides. The term employee may also refer to temporaries and subcontractors who spend a significant about of their workday in your workplace. This category also includes domestic violence.
Recognizing the Potentially Violent Employee
In order to reduce the threat of violence in the workplace, supervisors and managers must recognize behavioral warning signs of a potentially violent employee. A popular psychological view of the potentially violent employee focuses primarily on attitudes and behaviors.
General characteristics of a violent worker:
It is important to recognize that there are a number of exceptions to the profile listed above. One should not assume that the presence of one or more of these characteristics indicates that an individual is capable of murder. Nor, should one assume that the absence of several characteristics indicates that an individual is incapable of murder.
Identifying the Troubled Employee
Early identification of the troubled employee can help reduce the incidence of violence in the workplace. An employee who exhibits any of these indicators is not necessarily an individual who is prone to violence; however, violence is always a possibility when these warning signs occur. It is a supervisor’s duty to make the appropriate intervention should one or more of these signs occur:
While an employer should never attempt to diagnose an employee’s problem (i.e., “I think you are depressed,” or “You have a drug problem.”), a manager can focus a discussion on an employee’s work performance and offer assistance in resolving those problems. For example, a manager might say, “You have been missing a lot of work lately. I don’t know why you are having trouble getting here, but it may help if you talk to an employee assistance counselor.”
For more information about safety tips, contact Captain Robert Gibson at 588-5030 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org