Of course, employers would like to think workplace violence will never occur on their premises but relying on wishful thinking just isn’t good enough. Every responsible employer must work to prevent workplace violence and have a plan in place in case an incident does occur.
With 76 percent of shooting incidents taking place at a business, people are now sadly associating the term ‘workplace violence’ with an active shooter situation. However, workplace violence takes many forms, including bullying and intimidation. These lesser forms of workplace violence can quickly escalate into a very serious situation. The “it won’t happen here” mentality causes too many employers to be ill-equipped to take on workplace violence in all its forms.
Therefore, responsible employers must develop violence prevention plans.
If You See Something…
A basic rule of thumb when it comes to preventing violence is, “If you see something suspicious, say something.”
Employers must seriously consider any threat of violence. Businesses have fallen short in the past by not responding to red-flag behaviors, like a number of threats. Communication and trust are essential to spotting and reacting to red flags. Workers should feel comfortable bringing any concerns regarding workplace violence, even when they are minor concerns.
When identified early on, management may be capable of addressing the issue through worker assistance programs or counseling.
Engage Everyone in the Conversation
Companies need a thorough approach to recognize and deal with escalating violence. In the past, only safety or leadership personnel may have been involved in workplace violence training. Given the nature of the problem, it is crucial for employers to extend training and engagement on workplace violence to all employees.
This process can begin by asking staff members to feel free to mention any type of workplace violence, including ‘near misses,’ like when someone shoves someone else. Management ought to partner with staff to take any measures necessary to improve the reporting of such incidents.
If there were a legal claim, minor incidents of violence would come out in discovery. It’s better, therefore, for employers to analyze patterns in their facilities, their industry, and in similar types of facilities to identify any serious problems before an incident occurs.
OSHA Guidance on Workplace Violence
While OSHA does not have official rules covering workplace violence, it does offer recommendations.
OSHA has suggested company management have a zero-tolerance plan with respect to workplace violence that includes both a system of accountability and involvement from a safety committee. The federal agency has also said a plan ought to include an active shooter training scenario, claim tracking and the monitoring of violence trends in the news.
OSHA also strongly recommends organizations prevent retaliation or discrimination for the reporting violence issues, establish a team to perform worksite evaluations and bring in law enforcement to offer insights and assist in active shooter trainings.
NSC Supports Our Clients’ Many Health and Safety Initiatives
At NSC, we are dedicated to eliminating safety risks in the workplace, particularly workplace violence. Please contact us today to find out how we can be a partner in worker safety while providing your company with a comprehensive talent acquisition solution.