Dealing with Violence in the Workplace: Range of Violence
Any workplace may be the site of violence or aggression between employees. Violence may be aimed at managers or coworkers. This may include starting rumors, using angry words, or taking physical action. In rare cases, violence may even take the form of armed assault.
Threats may be aimed at a coworker, the employer, or the work site. Threats may be made in person. Or they may occur through email, social media, letters, or phone calls.
In some cases, an employee may become physically aggressive. He or she may shove, trip, or punch a coworker. Other types of violent action may also occur. This may include throwing things or breaking equipment.
In extreme cases, an employee may feel they were treated unfairly by the company or by a certain person there. The employee may plan ways to get back at their target. This may take the form of armed violence or arson. If the plan is acted on, coworkers and company visitors may be hurt.
Violent acts in the workplace rarely occur without some warning. An employee may act anxious, defensive, or aggressive. He or she may make threats. Or he or she may overreact to a performance evaluation, a disciplinary action, or a change in work policy. These employees often feel isolated or depressed. A history of family violence or substance abuse is also common. He or she may take a strong interest in weapons.
The risk of workplace violence can be reduced if:
Employers enforce a zero tolerance policy toward any type of workplace violence. This needs to be a comprehensive policy that covers all workers, patients, clients, visitors, contractors, and anyone else who may come in contact with company personnel.
Employees attend personal safety training programs that help them recognize, stay away from, or stop a potentially violent situation
Employees alert supervisors of any concerns and report all incidents right away and in writing
Employees not travel alone whenever possible
Employees carry only a small amount of money and required identification when in the community