Workplace violence is an issue that all employers must address. Whether you operate a brick-and-mortar retail store, an industrial factory, business-to-business services, or any other local facility, it’s your responsibility to create a safe working environment for employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) may lack a specific standard for workplace violence, but companies can still be cited for failing to create a safe working environment.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics Criminal Victimization in the United States report, 15% of all non-fatal violent crimes and 15% of all property crimes (e.g trespassing) were committed against victims who were working at the time of the incident. Furthermore,
#1) Create a Zero-Tolerance Policy
The first step in preventing workplace violence is to create a zero-tolerance policy in regards to physical violence, verbal threats and harassment. Many employers turn a blind eye to verbal and harassment, assuming it poses little-of-no concern. If left unaddressed, however, it can spiral out of control, spurring incidents of physical violence. To discourage such incidents, employers should create a strict zero-tolerance policy.
#2) Implement Security Measures
Another helpful tip for preventing workplace violence is to implement security measures such as a video surveillance system, locked doors and alarm systems. Video surveillance systems have come a long ways over the years, using technology like Internet Protocol (IP) to allow business owners to view footage in real-time. If an incident occurs, you can rest assured knowing it will be caught on camera. And just the sight of a camera will often deter individuals and workers from engaging in violent acts.
#3) Training Employees
In addition to job-specific training, employees should be trained on how to manage and deescalate potentially violent scenarios. When a verbal incident occurs, workers should know the appropriate measures to handle it without triggering violence.
#4) Hiring Security
While not required for all industries, certain businesses will benefit from hiring additional security personnel. A dedicated security guard will act as a deterrence to workplace violence, creating a safe environment for workers, customers and anyone else who enters the establishment.
#5) Conduct Background Checks
Arguably, one of the most influential elements in preventing workplace violence is conducting routine background checks on both new and existing employees. Doing so will reveal whether or not the individual has a criminal background, and if so, what he or she was charged with. If a job applicant has been charged with physical assault or other violent crimes, you may want to think twice before hiring them.
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