4 Tips for Preventing Workplace Violence

Workplace violence is an unfortunate reality in this day and age. Although it may be impossible for business owners to completely protect their organizations from violent attacks, there are plenty of measures that they can take to help prevent it or reduce the chances of an issue escalating. After all, having robust policies and procedures in place to protect against unexpected violence in the workplace can save the lives of your employees and customers.

What is workplace violence? It can be defined as the threat or act of violence, harassment or disruptive behavior in the workplace. Although there are many levels of workplace violence, from verbal abuse to active shooter situations, all of them are serious and must be addressed before they become a more significant problem.

As a business owner, you must create a game plan if violence does occur at your business. With over 2 million people in the United States identifying as victims of workplace violence, it is no small issue. Companies must be prepared.

Even if you have a plan, you must revisit and revise your protocols to keep up with the changing times and technology. If you are a business that does not yet have a workplace security protocol or training program, here are four tips that can help you get started.

4 Tips for Preventing Workplace Violence

Know your threats.

When it comes to your security, knowledge is power. The first step in creating an effective workplace violence plan is to thoroughly understand your business. Every business is unique based on factors such as geographic location, industry, size and number of people coming in and out of the premises each day. It is smart to consider these factors when evaluating your business.

Even when working with a professional security company to evaluate your risks, do not forget your most valuable resources: your employees. Your employees likely have a very different viewpoint that could provide you with useful information on potential vulnerabilities and threats that you could never be aware of.

Create employee harassment and workplace violence policies.

Preparation is key, and so is clarity when it comes to the security of your business. Companies should have clear policies in place to deal with threats as they occur. Smart business owners will require employees to sign a code of conduct to ensure that they are aware of the expectations when it comes to behavior, as well as the repercussions for not abiding by the code.

Offer regular employee trainings.

In addition to having written policies for workplace violence events, training and other information should be available to all employees, so they know exactly what to do when an event occurs. All employees should also know the proper lines of communication for reporting an incident.

Your employees should feel empowered to recognize threats and voice their concerns without fear of repercussions or retaliation. If your staff feels supported, they will be more likely to report threats that may put other employees at risk. Training should also help your employees to understand the signs of potential workplace violence incidents. Some warning signs may include:

  • Behavior changes
  • Complaining or ranting about work or personal situations
  • Overreacting to feedback
  • Missing work or being late without explanation
  • The use of alcohol or other substances

Hire a professional security guard company.

Many companies opt to hire professional security guards to help identify, manage and deter workplace violence and other threats. Security guards from a reputable company come highly-trained and experienced. They know how to identify potential warning signs of workplace violence and they understand how to mitigate threats to reduce the chances of an event escalating.

In the unfortunate event that an attack does occur, a trained security guard understands how to reduce the threat most quickly and effectively. Security guards are also trained at communicating with law enforcement to ensure they have the information they need to handle any danger that your business faces.

Workplace Violence is Serious Business–Off Duty Officers Professional Security Guards

As a business owner, you have many responsibilities. One of your primary roles is to protect those who work for you. You never know when a violent threat may occur in the workplace; however, you can ensure you are prepared for whatever may come your way. By following the four tips above and working with an experienced security company, you can thoroughly assess your risk and put plans in place to mitigate threats and deter crime from happening.

For over 25 years, Off Duty Officers has been serving businesses across the country by providing the most highly-trained and most effective security guards in the industry. If your business is at risk for a workplace violence incident, contact the security specialists at Off Duty Officers today to learn more about how our security guards can be a part of your security plan.

When you need security personnel who aim higher

Call Off Duty Officers, Inc. to find out how we can serve your business.

Off Duty Officers, Inc. provides armed and unarmed, off duty law enforcement and security personnel for both short- and long-term assignments. Contact us for an instant

Our experience means your safety.

6 Warning Signs of Workplace Violence

If you watch the news, you probably have seen sensational incidents involving workplace violence throughout the country. You may think that these situations are rare, or that they would never happen in your workplace. The reality is that workplace violence happens all the time and across all industries. Workplace violence does not just refer to active shooter situations like those we hear about on TV. It can also include verbal harassment and even threats of harassment or violence. And the sad fact is that many of these events go unreported.  

For owners and managers of a business, the security of their employees is the number one priority. There are certain employee behaviors that managers can look for to identify disgruntled staff members and mitigate the situation before violence occurs. Although the following behaviors may be common warning signs, it is essential to know that not all of the signs may be present, and others may be present to a small degree. As a manager or business owner, it is critical to take the behaviors in context while still proactively identifying potential risk factors to keep your personnel safe. 

6 Warning Signs of Workplace Violence

Negative Changes in Behavior 

An early warning sign of potential violence is a negative change in behavior. This may happen slowly over time or abruptly. A normally social employee may begin to isolate himself. A typically conscientious worker may suddenly become distracted and unproductive. A usually easygoing person may begin to display signs of agitation, anger or frustration. 

A manager who notices these changes in behavior should take note and monitor the situation to ensure that they can intervene as early as needed.

Sense of Hopelessness 

Employees that voice feelings of hopelessness, lack of control or powerlessness may be showing early signs of aggressive behavior. These thoughts may not always relate to something happening in the workplace, but very often involve personal situations happening at home or in their communities. When someone feels a lack of control to a high degree, they may take potentially aggressive actions to regain a sense of power.

Passive Aggressive Actions 

Passive aggressive behavior may be an indicator that an employee is agitated. This behavior may take the form of complaining to fellow coworkers, starting rumors about the company or posting negative thoughts about the company or coworkers on social media sites. These behaviors may start off small and be easy to brush off. However, these kinds of actions can be indications that an employee is beginning to exhibit aggressive behavior.

Verbal Threats 

The words people say can have great meaning. A verbal threat to a manager or coworker isn’t just always empty words. Vague threats can very often indicate actual future aggression. Any kind of verbal threat by an employee in the workplace should be reported to a manager with the appropriate action taken immediately.

Excessive Absences or Tardiness 

Unexplained increases in absences and regular instances of tardiness or leaving early from work could be an indication that the employee is disgruntled or agitated in some way. If this behavior comes out of the blue, managers should take action to understand the reason behind the issue. Hopefully, it is one that can be resolved relatively easily, without the risk of potential harm to staff. 

Interest in Weapons 

Another common warning sign of a potential workplace violence situation is a new or increasing fascination with weapons. It is not uncommon for an assailant to have demonstrated an increased interest in weapons like firearms, bombs or knives in the period of time before a workplace violence incident occurs.

Workplace Violence is a Serious Threat

The ability to recognize the warning signs of a potentially disgruntled or violent employee is one of the first steps managers and business owners can take in protecting their personnel. However, in the unfortunate event of a threat, many businesses benefit from the presence of armed or unarmed security guards. Professional guards are specially trained to recognize the warning signs of violence and have the skills to mitigate and handle a threat as it occurs.

Off Duty Officers has been supplying high-level security guards for businesses across the country since 1993. If you are looking to protect your business from workplace violence threats, contact the security specialists at Off Duty Officers for a quote today. Our team will help you determine the best security solutions that fit your business and budget. 

When you need security personnel who aim higher

Call Off Duty Officers, Inc. to find out how we can serve your business.

Off Duty Officers, Inc. provides armed and unarmed, off duty law enforcement and security personnel for both short- and long-term assignments. Contact us for an instant

Our experience means your safety.

What is Workplace Violence?

OSHA (The Occupational, Safety, and Health Administration) defines workplace violence as violence or the threat of violence against workers. It can occur at or outside the workplace and ranges from threats, verbal abuse, and bullying to physical assaults and homicide – the latter being one of the leading causes of job-related deaths.

Why should your organization have a violence prevention program?

The following statistics are compiled from reported incidents. Note: these are not simply incidents of intimidation or situations that cause workers to fear for their safety – they are actual cases of reported violence. Like you, we are aware that many individuals in the workplace have experienced workplace bullies who intimidate and threaten. Not surprisingly such intimidation, bullying, and threats sometimes lead to violent incidents.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the American Institute on Domestic Violence:

  • Homicide is the leading cause of death to women in the workplace.
  • Partners and boyfriends commit 13,000 acts of violence against women in the workplace every year.
  • In 2002, 609 fatalities resulted from homicides in the workplace.
  • In 2001, 17,215 nonfatal injuries resulted from assaults and violent acts by individuals in the workplace.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), there were 639 workplace homicides in 2001 in the United States, out of 8,786 fatal work injuries.
  • During the decade of the 1990s, there were approximately 1.6 million incidents of workplace violence each year.

What are the indicators of potential workplace violence?

Incidents of workplace violence are often culminating events that have been brewing over a period – and eventually festering anger explodes. The violent act does not always reflect the action of an employee. An employee’s spouse or significant other, intent upon inflicting damage, may perpetrate the violence. Other disgruntled or grudge-bearing individuals may also pose a possible threat. This group might include vendors, shareholders, clients, and former employees.

When you need security personnel who aim higher

Call Off Duty Officers, Inc. to find out how we can serve your business.

Off Duty Officers, Inc. provides armed and unarmed, off duty law enforcement and security personnel for both short- and long-term assignments. Contact us for an instant

Our experience means your safety.

Workplace Violence Employee Risk Factors

Signs to look for include:

  • Increased absenteeism
  • Decreased attention to hygiene
  • Use of illegal drugs and / or alcohol
  • Increasingly depressed
  • Episodes of domestic violence
  • Paranoid behavior
  • Interest in weapons
  • Bullying in the workplace
  • Perpetual negative demeanor

A combination of several of these risk factors would signal cause for careful scrutiny of an employee’s potential for acting out. For more information regarding this topic, you may contact Off Duty Officers at 888-408-5900.

Companies with sophisticated workplace violence prevention programs in place recognize that certain actions and events call for use of specialists in violence prevention. These events include:

  • Terminations
  • Downsizing
  • Shareholder meetings
  • Press conferences
  • Company gatherings
  • Disciplinary actions

What are solutions to workplace violence?

Off Duty Officers, Inc™. offers a force of security personnel specifically trained and equipped to deal with violence in the workplace. Our security team – comprised of off duty police officers, retired police officers, as well as military personnel and trained security guards – can provide the services required for businesses seeking workplace violence prevention.

Off Duty Officers, Inc™. is proud of its record in preventing workplace violence, and indeed, in saving lives of potential victims of such violence. Our ten-year history reflects a business presence that offers safety in the workplace. Our clients include Fortune 500 companies, midsize companies, and small businesses.