Workplace Violence: 5 Frequently Asked Questions

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Workplace Violence: 5 Frequently Asked Questions

Every year, nearly 2 million American workers are reported victims of workplace violence. Workplace violence covers a wide range of acts or threats that are disruptive to the inside or outside of a workplace. Exposure to workplace violence or a lack of security may lower employees’ morale, leaving them feeling disengaged and unproductive. This is a rapidly growing concern for organizations worldwide, and we encourage seeking proper training to prevent and protect employees from possibly hostile situations.

To give you an overview of how to handle disruptive or violent behavior in the workplace, we turned to Timothy Dimoff, President and CEO of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc. Given his experience as a renowned speaker, HR consultant, Certified Protection Professional, and former Ohio Policeman, Timothy is a trusted resource and is considered a top consultant on high-risk workplace issues.

Timothy gave us his insight on some of our most commonly asked workplace safety and security questions through our HR Help Desk. Here’s what Tim had to say:

What are the most common types of workplace violence that occur in the United States?

Most cases revolve around a disgruntled current employee. These reports typically involve how that employee was treated, denied some privilege, or a disagreement they had with another employee or supervisors. The second most common case involves disgruntled terminated employees.

What are the most effective ways to enforce the security policies organizations put into place?

It’s most effective to have any and all security policies and procedures actually written out and documented. Once the policy is created and recorded, have a meeting to explain the security procedures.

Be sure to have security experts from outside of the organization involved in writing policy and information meetings.

Train your supervisors on how to engage in and enforce all the security protocols. Investigate all breaches of security and enforce consistent reprimands for these security violations. Lastly, have yearly reviews and updates to your security policies, processes, and equipment.

What are the top 3 precautions organizations should take to handle the termination of an employee who may respond inappropriately?

  1. Make sure they hand in all keys, FOBS, ID cards, etc. Cancel their electronic access immediately.
  2. Explain and enforce that they are NOT permitted back on any company property.
  3. Notify security, supervisors, and receptionists that this employee was terminated and is not allowed back on property. If the employee is seen on or around your property, the police should be called immediately.

How can we teach employees to protect themselves beyond the standard protocol?

Have an outside security expert come to your location and offer some simple security education and training. Keep your key trained individuals and security informed about any troubled employees on a consistent basis.

What are some of the signs employers should be looking for that might indicate warning of a potentially violent/unsafe employee?

  • Mood changes and extreme moods
  • Continuous complaining
  • Threats to other employees and/or supervisors
  • Talking about violence, enjoying violence, or bragging about violence
  • Making threats about other employees to the co-workers they like
  • An increase in accidents, wasting company products, and breaking tools. Displaying total disregard when confronted about their destructive behavior
  • Erratic behavior that disregards company policies and /or procedures
  • Other employees do not want to work with them due to their behavior
  • Requests for multiple job transfers

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