According to the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration (OSHA) website, workplace violence is any act or threat
of physical violence, harassment, intimidation or other threatening disruptive
behaviour that occurs at the worksite. The impact of workplace violence can
range from physical injury to psychological issues or even death. The cost of
workplace violence to companies are high- costing $120 billion per year based
on estimates by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
(NIOSH) in 2012.
There are several steps that can be
taken to reduce workplace violence as follows:
1) Increase security measures
measures is the basic initiative for protecting employees against violence at
work. It is a preventative action that will considerably reduce the occurrences
and impact of workplace violence.
start by critically examining all areas of the workplace to uncover potential
ways in which to improve its security. According to OSHA, these measures may
include the following:
Improving external lighting
Minimising cash on hand
Putting up signage to tell people that there is only limited
amount of cash
Installing surveillance cameras and alarms
Increasing the number of staff on-duty
Providing staff safety training
Avoiding operations during high-risk hours
Issuing a weapons policy
to react against such events.
2) Implement a security policy
Companies can adopt a
formal workplace violence policy. There should also be procedures and channels
for employees to report threats or violent incidents. Managers should take an
active role in enforcing this policy. Most perpetrators display hints of
becoming violent in advance. Threats should be reported immediately and
diligently documented. Procedures to terminate employees should be carried out
in a fair and transparent way.
Companies should also
implement effective training and communication plan to instil awareness among
employees and so that they will know how to react and respond accordingly. Trainings
should be made at regular intervals and must include all employees.
3) Conduct screening
A thorough evaluation
of employee applications may raise potential “red flags”. Background
checks should be carried out to inquire if any applicants have had done any unacceptable
workplace behaviour. The background check process can include criminal records,
drug testing and other investigations that can reveal potential warning signs. Interview
questions should also be tailored to reveal any inclination towards violence. When
a company displays a strong stand against workplace violence, and exhibits it
through a tight background screening, potential offenders might even be
deterred to apply in the first place. At
the end of the day, you do not want to let any danger through your door.
Regular screening on
employees and contractors should also be done regularly. In order to ensure a continuous
safe environment, it is crucial to carry out regular screening on the extended
workforce. They might include service and repair professionals, construction
workers, caterers—virtually any non-employee that will potentially interact
with employees and customers.
4) Inculcate a culture of mutual trust and respect
A positive workplace
culture will deter unwanted behaviours like bullying or harassment that could
lead to violence. It would also be beneficial for companies to implement
stress-relief programmes such as meditation or counselling. A “buddy system”
would also strengthen teamwork and enhance communications at the workplace.
In conclusion, workplace violence is a
serious issue that has affected many employees worldwide. The key strategies to
prevent them are prevention and pre-emption. Companies must take proactive measures
to ensure that workplace violence can be prevented effectively.