By The World Protection Group
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), homicide is the fourth leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the United States and approximately one million people are victims of non-fatal workplace assaults each year. In addition, the costs associated with workplace violence easily surpass millions of dollars annually. With these staggering figures, workplace violence is an issue that all businesses should heed and take into account.
These incidents range from verbal abuse to physical assault and can appear from various sources including external parties such as robbers or muggers and internal parties such as coworkers or clients. Although not every incident can be prevented, there are guidelines businesses can follow to reduce both the occurrence and effects of workplace violence. These guidelines also provide the groundwork for an effective workplace violence protection program. The purpose of these programs is to limit employee exposure to situations that may lead to injury or death from violence.
Workplace violence prevention programs include policies and procedures that deal with recognizing and responding to risks. According to OSAH, these programs at minimum should:
¡Ü Create and disseminate a clear policy of zero tolerance for workplace violence.
¡Ü Ensure that no employee who reports or experiences workplace violence faces reprisals.
¡Ü Encourage employees to promptly report incidents and suggest ways to reduce or eliminate risks. Require records of incidents to assess risk and measure progress.
¡Ü Outline a comprehensive plan for maintaining security in the workplace. This includes establishing a liaison with law enforcement representatives and others who can help identify ways to prevent and mitigate workplace violence.
¡Ü Assign responsibility and authority for the program to individuals or teams with appropriate training and skills.
¡Ü Affirm management commitment to a worker-supportive environment that places as much importance on employee safety and health as on serving the client.
¡Ü Set up a company briefing as part of the initial effort to address issues such as preserving safety, supporting affected employees and facilitating recovery.
EARLY WARNING SIGNS
In addition to these programs, employers should also conduct behavioral evaluations and stricter pre-employment screenings. If implemented correctly, these two practices can reveal the early warning signs of potential violence.
Behavioral warning signs include:
¡Ü Intimidating, disruptive, or other aggressive behavior
¡Ü Conflicts with co-workers, clients and supervisors
¡Ü Personal hardships
¡Ü Disguised or direct threats
¡Ü Extreme mood swings
¡Ü Mental health issues
¡Ü Destructive behavior
¡Ü Changes in health and hygiene
Pre-employment screening should include:
¡Ü Reference checks
¡Ü Employment verification
¡Ü Criminal history and credit reports
¡Ü Drug screening
¡Ü Physical and psychological examination
Workplace violence is a serious issue that should not be taken lightly. Fortunately with the assistance of workplace violence prevention programs, behavior evaluations and extensive pre-employment screenings, employers and employees can work together to promote a safe work environment.
The World Protection Group, Inc. (WPG) is a Los Angeles-based global provider of executive protection, threat management, uniformed protective services, security consulting, and asset protection. To learn more about WPG, please contact Kent Moyer, President, at +1-310-390-6646 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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