Workplace Violence: A Safety Problem in Plain Sight

When we talk about workplace safety, our thoughts often turn to high-risk physical jobs, like construction, roofing and the oil and gas industry. But the uncomfortable fact of job safety is that risks are everywhere. Workplace violence poses a risk to all workers, their customers and visitors, in all sectors. 

A survey earlier this year of the healthcare industry showed that people are well aware of the risks. More than half of the respondents said that weather events were the cause of emergencies at work, and more than a quarter of the respondents cited workplace violence

While workplace violence declined from 1993 to 2009, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are still hundreds of thousands of incidents of workplace violence and hundreds of homicides every year. Security officers, police officers and bartenders are particularly at risk of nonfatal violence, but an astounding one-third of the homicides were in sales or office positions. 

Given this reality, every business needs to have a plan in place to deal with potential violence. Just as every physical workplace has a plan in place in case of fire — and prepares for such threats with fire drills — having a roadmap on how to deal with violence is critical. 

Planning ahead can be key. Most companies will have a process for terminating an employee, for instance, to mitigate the problems that may arise from an angry former colleague. 

Make sure workers have a way to report dangers before it’s too late. For example, Regroup’s TipSafe anonymous reporting feature could be used by workers to report danger or security concerns without putting themselves at graver risk or needlessly escalating the situation. 

In the case of a potential shooter at a workplace, a mass notification system could immediately alert the entire worksite — even a sprawling campus or a place with several buildings — about the risk. While guns are not the cause of most workplace violence, they are used in most workplace fatalities, according to the Department of Justice. 

The Department of Labor defines workplace violence as any act or threat of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. It ranges from threats and verbal abuse to physical assaults and even homicide. It can affect and involve employees, clients, customers and visitors.

Regroup has created a checklist for managers and business leaders on how to mitigate potential conflicts at work. While best practices cannot stop every incident of workplace violence, they can offer some peace of mind that tools are in place to make the workplace safer.

Could your business benefit from tools to help prepare for and hopefully avoid workplace violence? We can customize a demo for your business and guide you on tools and preparations to keep your workers, your clients and visitors safe.

 

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Update 9/27/2019:

Regroup Mass Notification joined forces with strategic security consulting firm, The Lake Forest Group to present a webinar to inform employers and employees on the best ways to help keep your workplace safe. Watch the webinar here.

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