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September 09, 2011
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Now is a great time to train your employees to help keep violence out of your workplace. Encourage them to be alert to potentially violent behavior. Tell them to be concerned if a customer or co-worker:

  • Threatens violence
  • Threatens to "get even" with you, co-workers, or supervisors
  • Tries repeatedly to intimidate you or others
  • Talks a lot about weapons
  • States that others are out to “get” him or her
  • Holds grudges
  • Blames others for problems
  • Displays frequent, unreasonable anger
  • Combines disturbing behaviors with substance abuse

Instruct employees to report behavior that concerns them. Give them contact numbers of security officers if you have a security department. Alert employees and quick reporting may be able to head off violence and get troubled people the help they need.

Why It Matters...
  • One-sixth of violent crimes occur in the workplace.
  • There are around 2 million incidents of workplace violence a year across America.
  • One in four workers reports being attacked, threatened, or harassed on the job.
  • As many as 18,000 people are assaulted at work each week.

Tell employees how they can help protect their work areas. Encourage them to:

  • Lock up purses and valuables.
  • Carry as little cash as possible, and if you do have to carry cash, don’t flash it around.
  • Arrange a danger signal with co-workers so that you can silently or loudly alert them to danger.
  • Alert security when you see strangers in your work area.
  • Report threats, violent outbursts, and other problem behaviors.
  • Don’t handle suspicious packages; alert security.
  • Keep security and police phone numbers near your phone.
  • Be sure that someone knows you are at the office when you work late.

Let employees know they can also help keep the facility secure. Encourage them to take these steps around your workplace to enhance security and prevent violence:

  • Meet visitors in the lobby. Do business there, if possible, to avoid having to get temporary passes, escorts, etc.
  • Wear required ID at all times.
  • Don’t lend pass cards, IDs, or access codes to anyone.
  • Don’t let strangers into secure areas.
  • Alert security to any problem individuals, such as stalkers or others who have threatened you. Security may want a photograph.
  • Report signs of a break-in or damage immediately.
  • Avoid dark and unused stairways and other isolated work spaces.
  • Alert security if you must traverse isolated areas or use elevators late at night.
  • Notify security if you regularly feel uncomfortable at any point in your work routine, and insist on some change in routine, policy, or procedure to make the situation safe.

OSHA takes workplace violence seriously and has issued a directive, Enforcement Procedures for Investigating or Inspecting Incidents of Workplace Violence.

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