2012 has been a turbulent year in the US with more than enough violence and more than enough lives lost. Workplace violence is described 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. Homicide is currently the fourth-leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the United States. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), of the 4,609 fatal workplace injuries that occurred in the United States in 2011, 10% were workplace homicides.
Combating violence in the workplace is a team effort. While employers have a legal responsibility to promote a safe work environment, employees need to assist in curbing possible violent incidents.
BASIC EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES INCLUDE:
1. Setting a policy statement that communicates to the staff that the organization will not tolerate violent behavior and that all reports of episodes will be taken seriously;
2. Informing employees of workplace violence policies and procedures;
3. Notifying all employees of any procedures implemented for assessing workplace threats and emergencies;
4. Taking all threats seriously;
5. Controlling premise access including providing adequate security systems;
6. Responding to potential threats and escalating situations by utilizing proper resources from law enforcement;
7. Responding quickly and understanding that timely reaction is a measure that leads to success;
8. Having a designated person to whom employees should report all threats. Designated safety officers should be trained on workplace violence and know whom to contact at the local designated law enforcement office;
9. Involving management in the workplace violence policy creation process.
Just as the employer must take an active role in the prevention of workplace violence, an employee’s awareness of the potential for workplace violence is essential to its deterrence.
EMPLOYEE RESPONSIBILITIES INCLUDE:
1. Understanding the organization’s written policy prohibiting workplace violence;
2. Notifying supervisors about possible strangers in the workplace;
3. Taking any threat, physical or verbal, seriously and reporting threatening behavior directly to the designated threat assessment officer.
This year, help eliminate overall workplace violence starting in your organization. If you need help creating policies and procedures, Arbill can assist. For more information visit our website. Subscribe to our Safety Blog so that you don't miss out on some excellent safety information that will help keep you and your employees safer everyday.