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A Safe Workplace is a Profitable Workplace

Posted on 3/22/11 9:30 AM

Being the calming influence during any stressful situation is the key to managing a crisis or threat. Workplace Violence is something that can derail a business and in turn can create a work environment that no one wants to work in…

What Is Workplace Violence?

Workplace violence can be any act of physical violence, threats of physical violence, harassment, intimidation, or other threatening, disruptive behavior that occurs at the work site. Workplace violence can affect or involve employees, visitors, and contractors.

A number of different actions in the work environment can trigger or cause workplace violence. It may even be the result of non-work-related situations such as domestic violence or “road rage.” Workplace violence can be inflicted by an abusive employee, a manager, supervisor, co-worker, customer, family member, or even a stranger. Whatever the cause or whoever the perpetrator, workplace violence is not to be accepted or tolerated.

However, there is no sure way to predict human behavior and, while there may be warning signs, there is no specific profile of a potentially dangerous individual. The best prevention comes from identifying any problems early and dealing with them.

Responsibilities

It is up to each employee to help make the workplace safe for everyone. The expectation is that each employee will treat all other employees, as well as customers and potential customers with dignity and respect. An employee should expect management to care about your safety and to provide as safe a working environment as possible by having preventive measures in place and, if necessary, by dealing immediately with threatening or potentially violent situations which occur.

Here are some tips on how to work with different roles and responsibilities to ensure a safe workplace.

Employees should understand they have responsibilities that include;

  • Understanding department policies regarding workplace violence.

  • Being responsible for the safety and security of their workplace, including reporting any suspicious persons.

  • Being aware of any threats, physical or verbal, and/or any disruptive behavior of any individual and report such to supervisors.

  • How to act and respond to a workplace emergency.

  • Being familiar with the resources of the Employee Assistance Program.

  • Take all threats seriously and not to confront, but report,workplace violence2 individuals who appear to be a threat.

Managers and Supervisors are responsible for the education and adherence on policies set forth in the workplace. These responsibilities include;

  • Ensuring that all employees know specific procedures for dealing with workplace threats and emergencies, and how to contact police, fire, and other safety and security officials.

  • Making certain that employees with special needs are aware of emergency evacuation procedures and have assistance (as necessary) regarding emergency evacuation situations.

  • Responding to potential threats and escalating situations by utilizing proper resources from the following: local law enforcement and medical services, Federal Protective Service, human resources staff, and the Employee Assistance Program.

Senior Management and Human Resources Staff should provide to those in management positions within a company the following;

  • Training which includes addressing employee problems promptly, performance counseling, discipline, alternative dispute resolution, and other management tools to help mitigate the development of disgruntled employees.

  • Technical expertise and consultation to help supervisors determine what course of administrative action is most appropriate in specific situations.

Security/Facilities Staff

  • Conduct regular threat assessment surveys of the facility to determine the level of security preparedness and any gaps in the security posture.

  • Serve as the facility security expert, keeping management advised of the risk of violence, the security gaps identified by threat assessments, and the means to close these gaps, including the latest technologies.

  • Work with facility personnel to improve the security level of the buildings, grounds, parking lots, etc.

Prevention of Workplace Violence

A sound prevention plan is the most important and, in the long run, the least costly portion of any company’s workplace violence program. Your company should have the following programs in place to help prevent workplace violence:

  • Pre-Employment Screening – An agency should determine, with the assistance of its servicing personnel and legal offices, the pre-employment screening techniques which should be utilized, such as interview questions, background and reference checks, and drug testing if it is appropriate for the position under consideration and consistent with Federal laws and regulations.

  • Security – Maintaining a safe work place is part of any good prevention program. There are a variety of ways to help ensure safety, such as employee photo identification badges, guard services, and individual coded key cards for access to buildings and grounds. Different measures may be appropriate for different locations and work settings.

  • Threat Assessment Team – This interdisciplinary team will work with management to assess the potential for workplace violence and, as appropriate, develop and execute a plan to address it.

Remember – A Safe Workplace + A Fun Workplace = A Profitable Workplace. Give your entire company the information and training they need to keep their environment safe.

 

Written by Joe Faul, National Client Services Manager

 

This article is intended as informational purposes only. LP Innovations instructs everyone to work with their human resource, legal counsel and proper authorities to establish a sound workplace safety program.

Topics: training and awareness, policies and procedures