Common Examples of Workplace Violence Incidents—and How to Handle Them

The workplace should be where you and your employees can be productive and feel safe.

Unfortunately, workplace violence incidents occur all over the country, and they can happen at any given time.

So how do you handle these serious and sometimes deadly incidents? Read on for some examples of how you can de-escalate situations and keep your workers safe from harm.

Threatening Behavior

Arguments can escalate, and there are incidents where employees might say things they don’t mean. But when this issue becomes threatening, you cannot afford to look the other way.

Threatening behavior can range from shaking your fists to actually making threats of bodily harm. If an employee begins to act out violently by throwing objects or breaking glass, action should be taken right away.

Whenever possible, have a neutral third party step in to calm the person down. If they’re still not chilling out, you may need to contact the police.

A good way to combat threatening behavior is to create an open-door policy. This is where employees can express their frustration with upper management without fear of repercussion. Sometimes, just talking about their anger will help to keep things from getting out of hand.

You should also make it clear that threatening or violent behavior will not be tolerated in your business. Draft a clear, concise company policy that spells this out to everyone who works there. Include the repercussions of what will happen if this behavior takes place so everyone is clear about the consequences.

Verbal Abuse and Workplace Violence Incidents

In a professional environment, there is no need for employees to treat each other with disrespect. A red flag for many workplace violence incidents is when employees become verbally abusive.

Whether it’s a coworker or a customer, verbal abuse should never be tolerated. This includes using swear words, insulting people, or making threats to others.

Verbal abuse tends to start out as humorous, but it often escalates into something extremely serious. You can curb this behavior by installing cameras throughout the facility.

When employees know they’re under surveillance, they’re less likely to act in an unprofessional manner. Make sure that everyone knows they can report this type of behavior in private.

While verbal abuse doesn’t always result in physical violence, it can become the starting point for much more serious issues later on. If you nip this problem in the bud with clear policies ahead of time, you run less risk of dealing with it later.

Draft a clear method in which any complaints about threatening behavior or verbal abuse will be tolerated. This method should include providing employees with a means to report anything they deem unacceptable.

In addition to the reporting, the policy needs to explain exactly what employees can expect if they’re the person who is being reported. When you make the rules clear, workers will have a better understanding that this simply will not be tolerated in your place of business.

Actual Physical Violence

Physical violence has become more prevalent in the workplace in recent years. This type of behavior is not only toxic, but it’s also detrimental to the health, safety, and well-being of your employees.

There are some things you can do to protect your employees from threats or actual acts of physical violence. Install extra lighting and a quality CCTV and alarm system. This will allow you to monitor everyone more carefully, and it will help employees feel safe.

Depending on the size of your business, hiring security guards may also be a good choice. Minimize the number of and ease of access to entry points throughout your building so it’s more difficult for criminals to get in.

With less capability to enter the building, you make it more difficult for a violent criminal or ex-worker to gain access to entry. Install an access control system that will ensure that only authorized people are allowed inside the workplace.

Training to Prevent Violence

Consider performing active shooter training sessions with your employees. This is one of the best ways you can help them feel empowered, and it will also keep everyone safer in the event that something like this were to occur.

Point out places where your employees can either escape or hide during a serious act of workplace violence. Much like a fire escape plan, this should inform everyone what to do and where to go in case an active shooter were to enter the building.

With a combination of strategy and education, your business and your employees will feel empowered and much safer while at work. Encourage everyone to stay on alert and to know that they can report suspicious activity without fear of retaliation.

When you foster a workplace that’s open and honest, you can reduce the threat of violent incidents at work. Combine that with a good security plan for best results.

Employee Safety Is Number One

Whether it’s verbal abuse, threatening behavior, or worse, understanding how to reduce workplace violence incidents is the key to safety. With proper training and clear policies, your entire staff will be on the same page when it comes to handling workplace violence.

Implement new security measures that will monitor employees and keep the building safe from outsiders. Perform a vulnerability assessment to help you get a clear picture of the areas you can improve.

Visit our website or contact us so we can help you with your vulnerability assessment, emergency planning, and safety training needs.