By Corwin Noble
With the war on terrorism and the conflicts in the Middle East we continue to focus our attention on the prevention of another terrorist attack that devastated our country on 9-11, but with that focus in many instances we have failed to comprehend and combat a problem which affects us weekly and sometimes daily somewhere in the United States and that is the threat of Workplace and School Violence. Hence this article Workplace Violence Prevention.
Such tragedies have become all too common in the workplace. Conditions such as “downsizing”, lay-offs, and workplace stress have contributed to this condition. Now with the incidents of school violence, this has only contributed to the condition and concerns of not only corporations, but now in our schools.
Noble Protective Services has responded to bomb threats, stalking of employees and protection of plants and businesses from employees who were discharged and posed a potential threat to employees and facilities.
But how can businesses and corporations look for and prepare for these types of incidents? We have seen that workplace violence can be broken down into three categories:
• Acts involving current or former employees.
• Acts involving relatives or someone that is known to an employee
• Acts involving crime unrelated to an employee.
The most common that we hear about in the media is acts involving current or former employees or acts involving relatives or someone who is known to an employee.
Let’s look at the first category. These are acts involving current or former employees. Many times an employee will give indicators before an act is committed. These indicators need to be identified and taken seriously by management and co-workers. Following are examples of indicators which we look for when called upon by a business or corporation in our threat analysis.
• Argues with supervisors and/or co-workers.
• Unwanted sexual comments toward co-workers or general public.
• Low self-esteem.
• History of violence.
• Recent unkempt change in physical appearance.
• Tardiness to work. • Fascination with firearms or weapons.
• Socially withdrawn.
• Drug or alcohol problems.
• Domestic problems. Recent break-up with spouse or death of a family member, domestic violence, money or credit problems, etc.
• Disillusioned behavior.
• Increased sense of blaming others for his/her problems.
The above are just some of the common examples of indicators that can be used by employers and co-workers to identify someone who may be prone to commit an act of workplace violence. But now that we have identified some characteristics of potential indicators, where do we go from here?
No matter how elaborate the security measures, incidents of workplace violence will never be totally eliminated. But, with proactive preventive measures, many incidents can be avoided or the potential for harm during an incident can be greatly reduced.
The steps or components for a comprehensive, workplace violence prevention plan need to have the integration of the following:
• Conduct training to identify potential sources of violence. Familiarize employees with the profile of potential violent individuals.
• Train employees to be alert to the warning signs of a potential violent situation. Also, employees must have management support and cooperation in establishing an “open door” policy to report any threatening remarks or situations. This comes with the establishment of clear written guidelines dealing with communication between employees and management of any type of threat, whether veiled or real.
• Employers should train management, supervisors, and employees in the observation of basic human needs and recognition and identification indicators of stress.
• Training of management and supervisors regarding procedures on hiring, downsizing, and termination.
• Identification of company assets that need protection.
• Assessment of the company’s ability, and capabilities to respond to incidents of workplace violence quickly.
• Pre-employment screening, and background investigation of new employees for indicators of violent behavior or behavioral problems.
• Establishment of written policies concerning terminations, lay-off, or “downsizing”.
• Establish within the company’s Human Resources department, psychiatric resources, support services, or outplacement treatment services for dealing with current or former employees who exhibit the stress indicators.
• Development of a crisis management team involving management, human resources, and security personnel to deal with potential problems once they are identified.
The above are just a few of the guidelines needed to build a comprehensive workplace violence prevention system within a company to deal with workplace violence. For more information on dealing with workplace violence contact Noble Protective Services Corporation at (888) 308-6450 or contact us via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.