Violence in the workplace can erupt at any time and is always serious. Indeed, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 500 workplace homicides in 2016, which was the second most common cause of workplace deaths after transport accidents.
While workplace violence cannot always be avoided, there are some signs to watch out for, and a workplace violence consultant can help you.
The first and most obvious thing is to endeavor to keep potential troublemakers out of your business in the first place. You should always use the job interview to inquire about previous terminations or long gaps in employment and watch for the reaction. If simple questions seem to make the individual nervous or uncomfortable, then hiring them may not be a good idea. In any case, you should always make thorough background checks for any person you are considering employing. You may want to have a workplace violence consultant alongside you on the day you are conducting interviews.
Have A Definite Policy In Place; Ask a Workplace Violence Expert for Help to Draft One
You should also have a policy in place so that all employees are aware of the consequences of any violent actions. Most companies do, indeed, have zero tolerance policies but there can still be some areas that are open to doubt. For example, if an employee throws a mouse at someone but misses, does it count as an offense for termination of employment?
Your policies should insure that all employees are encouraged to report any incidents that have made them feel uncomfortable, or any warning signs of impending violent behavior. You cannot be everywhere in your business at all times, so there may well be incidents of which you have no knowledge. You might also have a company email address where employees can report incidents anonymously so that you are kept aware of any untoward behavior. All too often, after a violent incident, we hear things such as “I always thought he was a troublemaker” or “I might have known he’d do that”.
Signs To Watch For and Employee Violence
There are several signs that an individual might become violent. For example, there is the person who is rude and uncaring and always blaming other people for his problems. There are people who have a controlling nature and may have an obsession with power: perhaps they have a gun collection or might be obsessed with law enforcement. There are people who assume that others are always out to get them and believe coworkers are gossiping about them or following them about.
There are also people who always seem to be angry about something and blame everyone else for their mistakes. Then there are people who are just plain oddballs that everyone avoids.
While you sometimes cannot prevent violence happening, it is well worthwhile to take every precaution. Having a workplace violence consultant conduct a survey of your business is always worth considering.
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