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Preventing Violence in the Workplace

Preventing Violence in the Workplace

Violent acts in the workplace are increasing across the country. As a growing problem, it has lasting repercussions on businesses and employees. The costs associated with workplace violence can be astronomical with an impact that can be difficult to overcome. If a substantial violent act takes place in your company and gets media coverage, the consequences can be devastating. Violent crimes are on the rise, but there are some things you can do to make your workplace safer.

What is Workplace Violence?

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, each year there are more than two million people affected by workplace violence. According to the National Safety Council, NSC, violence is the fourth leading cause of death in the workplace. That number of workplace deaths continues to rise. The definition of workplace violence is broad in scope. It is not simply the act of brandishing or shooting a gun at work. The U.S. Department of Labor policy is to “promote a safe work environment that is free from violence, harassment, intimidation, and other disruptive behavior.” It is helpful for managers and employees alike to learn to recognize the signs of potential problems as early as possible.

The Impact of Violence in the Workplace

Violent acts may cause a myriad of problems for everyone involved including employees and the company’s profits. Employees can suffer from a permanent or temporary ability to work. They can have psychological damage that may include PTSD. The business may need to shut down, at least for a while, while police investigate the crime and so you can clear the scene. Violence can result in loss of income for a period of time, which can be indefinite. Management must focus on the incident and on taking care of the employees’ physical and mental well-being.

What You Can Do to Prevent Violence in the Workplace

Violence in the workplace can occur regardless of how cautious you are as an employer. However, the best way to protect your employees and your business reputation is by taking some preventative steps. Some of these steps include:

  • Increase security measures
  • Assign a dedicated resource
  • Offer ways to better listen to employees
  • Provide psychological assessments and resources
  • Obtain background checks
  • Putting policies in place regarding tolerance for workplace violence
  • Train managers and employees about workplace violence

Strict policies and enforcement in the workplace are one of the best ways to deter violence. Ensure that employees understand that you will not tolerate violent acts and will discipline accordingly. Encourage employees to report incidents without any negative repercussions.

Keeping Your Workplace Safe

There are some policies you can put into place immediately to provide a safer workplace for your employees. Keep in mind that you should put policies in writing and have employees read and understand by signing a document that you keep in their personnel file. Include what actions and types of actions you will not tolerate and what corrective measures you will take if an employee does not follow the rules. For instance, if you supply lockers for employees, make sure employees know that you have the right to inspect them at any time.

Put security in place to deter problems. Security cameras, along with security personnel, could help to reduce incidents in the workplace. Investigate complaints about individuals and take measures to provide resources to help employees who are struggling with mental issues. Put employee rules in place and always take steps to handle potential problems when employees bring them to your attention.

To learn more about legal measures you can take to keep your workplace safe, contact our legal team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd. online or by phone at (608) 784-8310 today.

Published July 2, 2021
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