It seems that not a week goes by without the news reporting an incident of workplace violence. While the causes of workplace violence vary, it can be prevented. Each year, there are approximately two million workers that fall victim to non-fatal workplace violence. Even more astonishing, is that an additional 1,000 people are killed each year at work. Workplace violence is committed by a variety of people and situations that include:
- Disgruntled employees
- Unhappy customers
- Former co-workers or disgruntled co-workers
- Robberies and other crimes
- Domestic violence incidents that are brought to the workplace
One step many businesses take is the hiring of private investigators to run background checks on new employees, The purpose of background checks is to insure no one with a violent criminal background is hired. However, private investigators provide more services that help prevent workplace violence that include investigations and findings that recommend processes to eliminate violent workplace incidents in the future. These service include:
- Investigations of sexual harassment
- Investigations of violent or intimidating actions
- Investigations of a customer act of violence or intimidation of employees
- Investigations of claims of violence against clients or customers
- Use of undercover investigations to ferret out employees that are abusive verbally and physically
- Conduct training sessions for employees that help them prevent, identify, intervene, and avoid workplace violence.
Other Measures to Prevent Workplace Violence
Using private investigators is only one way to help prevent workplace violence. The following are steps businesses can take to prevent workplace violence.
- A business-wide policy that discourages and prevents harassment. Once the policy is created, be sure it is distributed in writing to every employee and given to new employees the first day they report to work. The policy should include a process for handling complaints of verbal, or physical harassment, with speed and employee privacy.
- An important part of the business's non-harassment policy is a zero-tolerance policy addressing employee versus employee harassment and policy violations.
- Small businesses need to monitor their employee interactions with one another, and larger companies ought to monitor working groups or teams. Situations involving employees and leading to their frustration need to be dealt with as soon as they are identified.
- Make sure that all workers attend awareness and training sessions concerning workplace violence. Simultaneously, be sure that clear channels of communication are in place regarding prevention of violent workplace incidents.
What To Do If You Are a Victim of Workplace Violence
Even in organizations that promote workplace violence prevention, a violent situation can erupt at any time. To mitigate the threats inherent in such a situation, workers need training on what to do if a threatening incident occurs. Remember, some violent workplace incidents are non-physical, but can be strong verbal abuse. Here is what employees need to know.
- Stay calm so that you don’t further agitate the aggressor and inadvertently make the situation worse.Answer questions as succinctly as possible. Never raise your voice.
- As the aggressor relates his or her grievance, don’t contradict or argue with him or her.
- Violent people often have documentation regarding their grievance. They may lay it on a desk or countertop - do not pick it up as the aggrieved person might then think you are going to deal with his problem.
- Try your best to keep the person on topic - their complaint. If they wander off topic, firmly, but, politely steer the conversation back.
- If possible, ask a co-worker for assistance. This is a great practice if your efforts to calm the aggressive person fail.
• Never meet violence with violence. If you retaliate physically you will further enrage the aggressive person unless you are in a position where you have to defend yourself.
• Give the aggressor plenty of personal space. Avoid making gestures that might be seen as aggressive - one example is shaking your finger at the person.
Prevention is a priority in the fight against workplace violence. That is why so many companies in Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg Florida rely on The Grafton Group to assist with their workplace violence prevention program. The Grafton Group is also there for clients who wish to dismiss someone and monitor there activities after termination from the company.
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